Sri Lanka gets US$500mn worth tourism proposals for 10 islets

Dec 16, 2010 (LBO) – Eleven leisure firms have submitted proposals worth 500 million US dollars to build hotels and other leisure facilities in 10 islets off Sri Lanka’s North Western coast, an official said. Chairman of Sri Lanka’s tourism development authority Nalaka Godahewa said the bids closed on December 03 and successful parties will be notified next January.

The islands off the coast of Kalpitiya will be given on 30 to 50 year leases, and investors could engage in 40 approved areas including building, hotels, golf course and boat services, he said.

Among the bidders are top international chains, Godahewa said, without elaborating.

The tourism authority has planned a development in the area which is now gaining fame for whale and dolphin watching and diving. New hotels in the area could add 5,000 rooms to the country’s existing 15,000 rooms according to published plans.

The industry estimates that 40,000 rooms would be needed by 2016 when 2.5 million tourists a year are expected.

On December 10 Sri Lanka greeted the 600,000 visitor and Godahewa said Sri Lanka will end the year with around 620,000 visitors. Last year Sri Lanka received 391,028 visitors.

Some of the larges