By Zahara Zuhair
The first Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort greeted Sri Lanka’s South coast recently, formed as a joint venture partnership between Hemas Holdings and Minor Hotel Group, was opened to the guests from December1st.
Built costing over US $ 50 million, the property is located on a 21 acre coconut estate in Tangalle.Hemas Holdings PLC Group Director and Serendib Leisure Management Ltd Chairman, Abbas Esufally said that it is an important day for the tourism industry of Sri Lanka and it will be a game changer to the industry.
“We are happy to bring in international brands like this to Sri Lanka. It is a lovely properly, it is a part of a acquisition the Hemas made about almost quarter century ago. It was always identifying for development of a leisure property” he said.
He said that after scanning some operators in Asia, they identified strong partnership with Minor International, a hospitality company based in Thailand, which has a fast growing hotel chain in Asia with multiple brands such as Lewana, Avani, Tivoli etc.
Talking about the present situation of the tourism industry, he said it is rapidly growing and today it has become a 3 billion dollar industry.
“The government has included this in their Macroeconomic strategy. Their focus is to take it to a 10 billion dollar industry as fast as possible. This means it will attract a lot of FDIs and also will create direct and indirect employment. It is certainly going to be an important business sector to our country,” he said.
He said the new property in Tangalle would be accessible because of the highways which would be on soon and air connectivity is also growing and becoming easier.
Cinnamon Air will be operating twice daily from the Bandaranaike International airport and helicopters also will be available upon prior request.He also revealed that the second Anantara is already under construction and will be opened by March/April next year in Kalutara.
“With my group Hemas, there will be 4 brands coming up. Already there are two Avanis launched 3-4 years ago, and now the two Anantaras including the one under construction,” he noted.
“We want to bring more international brands, quality tourism and to be a part of the macroeconomic strategy for Sri Lanka” he said.
Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort was garnered by CNN as one of the resorts of their list of ‘11 hotels opening in 2015 we can’t wait to check into’. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, General Manager, Tamir Kobrin said business-wise Sri Lanka looks very promising.
He said that when constructing the property they considered about keeping the actual design which was a coconut plantation before and the history of the place and was concerned on how to bring those in to the interior of the property. He noted that the property has a variety of different kinds of accommodations.
Anantara a luxury hospitality brand, currently has 35 hotels in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Maldives, China etc.