Sri Lanka Aitken Spence plans eastern resort

June 18, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence group, which runs resorts in Maldives, India and Oman is in talks with two international chains to find a joint venture partner to build a 100 million dollar leisure complex in the island’s east coast, an official said. The complex will be made up of two hotels, residential villas and entertainment facilities. One hotel will be built by Aitken Spence under its flagship ‘Heritance’ brand and the second will be built by the joint venture partner.

The group owns 108 acres of beachfront property in Nilaveli in Sri Lanka’s eastern coast.

“We are looking at a high end integrated mixed development,” Malin Hapugoda who heads the Aitken Spence’s hotel division said.

“We are talking to a couple of brands.”

He said the entire complex may cost 100 million US dollars to build with the contributions from the chosen joint venture partner.

In 2010 tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka surged 46 percent to 654,000 from a year earlier after a 30-year war ended in 2009.

Up to May 2011 arrival are up 40 percent to 327,000 and investors are scrambling to build new hotels. The war’s end has also opened the former battle fields in the east for economic activity.

Hong Kong based Shangri La has bought beachfront pr