Sri Lanka made regional hub by Thai leisure chain

Dec 14, 2010 (LBO) – Thailand-based Six Senses Resorts and Spas is planning a regional headquarters in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo to own and manage up to 200 million dollars in leisure assets in the Indian Ocean, chairman Sonu Shivdasani said. It is also building a 40 million dollar hotel with Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence group in the south western coast of the island.

A 30-year war ended in May 2009, and tourism arrivals to Sri Lanka are up 43 percent to October.

“Over time tourism will become a dominant part of the economy in Sri Lanka, so it makes sense for us to operate in a country like that,” Shivdasani said.

“Since the return of peace I see Sri Lanka becoming an important regional hub.”

He said the proximity to the Maldives where it now has three resorts, plans for projects in Andaman Islands in India and Mauritius made Colombo the obvious location to house the regional hub.

The Sri Lankan based unit will eventually own between 150-200 million dollars in equity in several projects in the Indian Ocean and also oversee resorts managed by Six Senses.

Shivdasani said the ready availability of accountants and legal services in Sri Lnaka also helped in the decision to locate the regional headquarters to Colombo.