Sri Lanka gets more attention from India’s Taj hotels

Sept 24, 2010 (LBO) – India’s Taj group is looking for opportunities in Sri Lanka’s war-torn eastern coast and a city hotel it controls will also need 30 to 35 million US dollars to be upgraded to fit the group’s new brand portfolio, officials said. India itself sends more tourists to Sri Lanka than any other country. Up to August 2010, arrivals were up 46 percent to 397,000. Indian visitors were up 63 percent to 73,400. The listed Taj Samudra hotel in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo has 300 rooms.

“It will take 30 to 35 million US dollars to re-do this property,” executive director finance of Taj Resorts and Hotels, Anil Goel said.

The group is now evaluating the property to decide where to place it on the group’s new portfolio of brands, he said.

Listed Taj Samudra is majority controlled by the Taj group.

Taj also owns a 50 percent stake in Taj Exotica, a 160 room resort in Sri Lanka’s South West coast, which has been re-branded as ‘Taj Vivanta Bentota’ from this week.

It also manages a 130-room hotel near Sri Lanka’s only international airport. The Taj Airport Garden hotel, owned by Sri Lanka’s Hirdramani group will be put under ‘The Gateway Hotel’ brand from January 2011.

Its owners are upgrading 40 rooms and buildin