Sri Lanka Jetwing expands overseas, links with Nepal firm

Aug 08, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Jetwing leisure group is expanding abroad, building links with foreign partners, including Nepal’s Chaudhary conglomerate which is also investing in the island, a top official said.

But with the end of a 30-year war in Sri Lanka prospects at home are also looking up. The mainstay of Sri Lanka’s leisure sector is Western European tourists.

In June tourist arrivals increased 8.0 percent. Britain has already relaxed a travel advisory to some parts of the island.

“I am sure this winter will be excellent,” says Cooray. “Arrivals have increased. Our foreign partners are saying the bookings are better.” The Chaudhary group, through its unit Cinnovation, has already bought a 50 percent stake in Royal Heritage Hotel, which owns the Jetwing nature reserve ‘Vil Uyana’ and a 49 percent stake in Seashells Hotel, when Sri Lanka’s Hayleys group exited last month.

The Chaudhary group owns hotels in Nepal and other areas.

“We are looking at managing some of the Nepal hotels,” Jetwing group director Shiromal Cooray told LBO.

The Nepali conglomerate, headed by businessman Binod Chaudhary, also has interests in power generation and food and beverages.

Cinnovation has