Sri Lanka’s MJF group gets ready to push the leisure button

March 30, 2007 (LBO) – The Ceylon tea specialists Merril J Fernando (MJF) group is laying the foundation to enter the leisure sector despite the current downturn in the industry, officials said. The group has become a top player in the tea trade in Sri Lanka by marketing valued added ‘Dilmah’ branded Ceylon tea directly in consumer markets abroad.

The group has been acquiring land and is developing the groundwork, through its Forbes & Walker arm and MJF Leisure division.

We have been securing land what we call the land bank – including major tourist areas south coast, cultural triangle, tea country to expand our resort portfolio, Thilan Wijesinghe, Group CEO, Forbes & Walker said.

“And we have started to look at the architectural plan for the next resort.”

MJF is already making headway in the premium end of the leisure business through its subsidiary Forbes and Walker and MJF Leisure which runs a luxury boutique hotel in cool climes of the up country tea estates.

“Dilmah are in 90 countries now and day by day new countries are being added,” Wijesinghe said.

“The idea is to make leisure a substantial portion of the group’s diversification plan a