Sri Lanka gears up for international hotel brand openings

Sri Lanka has seen a tourism boom as of late and hotel brands are looking to tap into the market. The Island reports that the country recently welcomed its 750,000th tourist to enter the country for the year and that the government expects to hit 800,000 arrivals by 2012. Thailand's Minor International is set to build more hotels in Sri Lanka, in partnership with the island's Hemas group, according to Lanka Business Online. Officials told the site that the plans include reopening two existing properties after refurbishment and rebranding.

"The two firms are also to build a 16-room beach hotel on 10 acres next to an existing property, Kani Lanka, at Kalutara on the south-west coast at a cost of $25 million," Minor International Chief Executive Dilip Rajakarier told Lanka Business Online.

Similarly, ShanghaiDaily.com is reporting that Sri Lanka's Serendib Hotels, the hotels arm of Hemas group, will team up with global leisure brand Avani as part of the partnership with Minor Group.

Minor has dealt with other brands such as Marriott, Four Seasons, St. Regis and Anantara. "The first property to be branded Avani in Sri Lanka will be open to tourists from the beginning of next month," reports ShanghaiDaily.com. "The hotel is located in the southern part of the country." Lanka Busines Online writes that the property is a former Hotel Serendib in Bentota and it will be rebranded as Avani Bentota Resort and Spa as of December 1.

Minor has a 20 percent stake in Serendib Hotels and will launch the Anantara brand in Kalutara with an investment of $18 million. According to The Island, Minor plans to increase its hotel portfolio to 125 hotels by 2015, from 36 at present, “and Sri Lanka is one of the key destinations.”

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