Ceylon Hotels Corp to woo more locals after earnings gets hit last year

Jan 24 (LBO) – Ceylon Hotels Corporation, which runs a chain of state owned hotels and rest-houses around the island, is trying to woo more local travellers after earnings took a beating last year. Operating a chain of 19 guesthouses in Sri Lanka, the group was hit by an escalating local conflict and a spate of travel advisories from top European markets recently.

Last year, Ceylon Hotels Corp., posted earnings of 267 million rupees, below budgeted expectations of 326 million rupees, Anura Lokuhetty, Chief Operating Officer at CHC, said on Wednesday.

Targets are to post 345 million rupees in earnings this year. We are trying to convert our product to where there is a demand by the public, Lokuhetty said.

Occupancies are still averaging around 35 percent. We are also badly affected by the downturn in tourism as our fairly big properties like in Sigiriya, Polannaruwa and Hotel Seruwa were getting a fair amount of tourist traffic as well.

Up to 60 percent of visitors in CHC hotels are locals, though lucrative international traffic usually pads up earnings, especially on slow weekdays.

Majority of our room inventory comes from our larger properties and so when t