Standing from left: MMBL-Pathfinder Group Director/CEO K.Balasundaram, Founder Milinda Moragoda, Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sindhu, First Secretary Suja Menon, ITC Vice President Subi Koshy George, ITC Head of Finance Abhijeet Sreenivasan. Seated: MMBL Leisure Holdings Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke and Colombo ITC Hotel Project Managing Director Arun Pathak
MMBL Leisure Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. a subsidiary of the MMBL-Pathfinder Group and WelcomHotels Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., a subsidiary of ITC Limited, India, have inked a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a mid-market hotel chain in Sri Lanka.
The MOU was signed between MMBL Leisure Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd., Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke and WelcomHotels Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., Managing Director Arun Pathak in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu and MMBL-Pathfinder Group Founder Milinda Moragoda.
This collaboration will initially explore developing hotels in popular tourist destinations such as Trincomalee, Katunayake, Galle, Matara and Kandy. The first development is expected to be a city hotel in Trincomalee, the first of its kind in the East coast.
MMBL Leisure is a niche travel/hospitality investment subsidiary of the MMBL-Pathfinder Group. It is a joint venture with Lebara Investments B.V. of the Netherlands, a fast-growing international mobile telecommunications company with over 5 million active customers, 1,000 employees worldwide and operating in 18 countries including Australia under the brand name ‘Lebara’. In the recent past, MMBL Leisure has helped promote and co-invested in several niche tourism projects across the island including Jetwing Jaffna, the premier business hotel in the North; Cinnamon Air, Sri Lanka’s only private domestic scheduled airline; and Lanka Houseboats, Sri Lanka’s pioneer houseboat project.
The company, together with several Sri Lankan blue chip joint venture partners, has acquired two more beach properties for development of holiday resorts in Yan Oya, approximately 50 k.m. north of Trincomalee and Vakarai in the Eastern Province and another property at Rangala, in the Central Province near the Knuckles Mountain Range.
MMBL Leisure is also in the process of exploring the possibility of establishing a passenger/cargo ferry service between Sri Lanka and India in collaboration with a leading ferry operator in Europe.
WelcomHotels Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ITC Limited, India. It has been established for constructing, building and operating mixed-use development projects, including a luxury hotel on 5.86 acres of prime sea-facing land on the Galle Face, Colombo.
ITC is one of India’s leading multi business enterprises with a market capitalisation of over US$ 50 billion and a turnover of US$ 8 billion. ITC Hotels is India’s premier chain of luxury hotels that has become synonymous with Indian hospitality. The group operates more than 100 hotels in over 70 destinations in India.