From Left: Onyx Hospitality Group President/CEO Peter Henley, Movenpick Middle East and South Asia COO Andreas Mattmuller, JLL India Hotels and Hospitality Managing Director Mandeep Lamba, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group South Asia CEO Raj Rana and Dossen International President Hansen Zhao
Pic by Pradeep Dilrukshan
Two hotel chains based in Belgium and China are interested in having hotel properties in Sri Lanka due to the country’s tourism potential, it was revealed yesterday at the Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference which concluded at the Hilton in Colombo yesterday.
“This is my third time in Sri Lanka this year. We’re excited about the prospects,” Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group South Asia CEO Raj Rana said. The Belgian hotel chain Rana has over 1,400 properties worldwide.
Chinese hotel chain Dossen, which will have 1,000 hotels at the end of 2016—almost all of them in China—just 10 years after starting its operations, is also interested in Sri Lanka, given the increased arrivals the island is attracting from China.
“We need a long-term strategy. It’s too early to say if we’re investing or partnering with locals. We’re at the starting stage, looking at the market and models,” Dossen International President Hansen Zhao said.
Thai-based Onyx Hospitality Group President/CEO Peter Henley recommended Sri Lanka for his peers mulling entry into
“Sri Lanka is important to us. Sri Lanka will have the maximum growth. In terms of absolute numbers, there will be other countries where we will have hotels, but in terms of growth, it’s Sri Lanka,” he said.
Movenpick Middle East and South Asia COO Andreas Mattmuller, whose Swiss hotel chain is planning to manage a hotel owned by the Softlogic Group in Colombo, also noted that Sri Lanka is a key global destination, with great culture, natural resources
Rana said that the hotel inventory in Sri Lanka is inadequate to cater to 5 million tourists by 2020, and that Sri Lanka has a low branded presence, demand for which will increase, since the Sri Lankan government is aspiring to attract high-spending tourists.
However, World Travel & Tourism Council Chairman Gerald Lawless noted that while branded hotels are important in creating a perception of sophistication, home grown hotels will grow to become more important in the long run. (CW)