Sri Lanka expects US$1.5bn in hotel starts in 2011

Jan 15, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is expecting 1.5 billion US dollars of mainly hotel project starts in 2011 as investors pour money into the sector in the wake of booming tourist arrivals following the end of a war, economic minister Basil Rajapaksa said.

The two firms have to pay 125 million US dollars for two blocks of land. Shangri La has already paid up, and CATIC is expected to pay soon, Rajapaksa said.

Rajapaksa says the project will start soon as investors who put up large volumes of money would not want to delay.

The government’s tourism authority is also attracting investments into several other tourism zones. Last month Sri Lanka’s tourism chief Nalaka Godahewa said 500 million dollars of bids had come for several islets offered to investors off the Northwestern coast.

Domestic business groups including, John Keells Holdings, Aitken Spence, Jetwing, Amaya are planning or has started building new properties, expanding or upgrading their properties.

“We expect 1.5 billion US dollars of hotel projects to start this year,” Rajapaksa said. “Investors are looking for a stable power supply, infrastructure and political stability.

“We have beaches, historical sites, wildlife. It was security that we lacked. We have inves