By Cheranka Mendis
Post-war Sri Lanka Tourism has managed to lure several more top global hotel brands to set up shop in the country, the Government revealed yesterday.
With Shangri-La Hotel group now secure under its belt, Sri Lanka has managed to convince worldwide operator of the successful franchise Marriott International and Canadian-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to begin operations in the country, Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said yesterday.
Though the exact investment figures were not made public, Abeywardena stated that the hotel chain’s presence is now a done deal.
Sri Lanka last year enjoyed a record 650,000 tourist arrivals, up by 46% over 2009. Forecast for 2011 is between 700,000 and 750,000 arrivals.
Marriott Hotels and Resort is Marriott International’s flagship brand of full service hotels and resorts. Repeatedly included on the Forbes Best Companies to Work list, the group has 3, 150 lodging properties in the USA and 67 other countries. According to the Group website, Marriott is scheduled to open up 43 hotels between 2009 and 2016 – 12 in North America and 32 in four international regions.
Canadian-based Four Seasons has 86 properties worldwide and is ranked among top luxury hotels worldwide. It has 22 properties in Asia alone, in addition to 38 in USA, 14 in Europe and 12 in the Middle East.
Some of Sri Lanka’s other global hotel brands include Hilton, Taj, Galadari and Ramada.
SL invests $ 10,000 on Tony
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau yesterday announced that it has invested US$ 10,000 in the new Brand Ambassador for Sri Lanka Tourism, Tony Greig.
Greig, one of the greatest all-rounders in the cricketing world, has always been known as a lover of Sri Lanka and has done his fair share of work promoting the island.
Recently endorsed as the Brand Ambassador for Sri Lanka Tourism, Greig will act under his new title for six months promoting Sri Lanka in the ongoing ICC World Championships as well as the IPL matches in India.
Acting Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Malraj Kiriella yesterday told the media that Greig’s endorsement did not come free.
“We pay him US$ 10,000 (approximately Rs. 1 million) for six months,” Kiriella said.
Kiriella stated that thanks to the World Cup matches being played in Sri Lanka, almost all hotels had recorded 90 per cent or even 100 per cent occupancy in both Colombo and Kandy. The Bureau has taken its chances and has placed billboards with tourist attractions of Sri Lanka in the cricket stadiums which would host the World Cup matches.