Sri Lanka Amaya Leisure in US$100mn expansion

July 10, 2010 (LBO) – Amaya Leisure, a firm connected to Sri Lanka’s Vallibel group said it would invest 100 million US dollars in the next four years in four new hotels in an aggressive expansion to meet growing demand post-war demand in the island, an official said. “We intent completing all these projects before 2014,” Amaya Leisure managing director Lalin Samarawickrama told a forum in Colombo organized by Acuity, an investment bank.

“If we (Sri Lanka) are to reach 2,500,000 tourists, we need bedrooms. Amaya intends expanding to 1,000 bedrooms by 2014. That is our target.”

Last year 447,000 tourist came to Sri Lanka and 600,000 are expected this year. In June 2010 arrivals were up 48 percent following the end of a 30-year war in May 2009.

Group Growth

Amaya leisure started in 1981 as Connaissance, a tour operator, just before a 30-year ethnic war intensified sharply following ethic riots in 1983.

In 1994 it build a chalet type hotel near Kandalama lake in central Sri Lanka. This was rebranded in 2005 as Amaya Lake and has 106 rooms and has been upgraded to 4-star standard.

Samarawickrama said the group pioneered hotel branding in Sri Lanka, and was soon followed by Chaya and Cinnammon brands of John Keells group and Heritan