Desert Move

Feb 07, 2008 (LBO) — Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence, a top leisure group that also runs resorts in the Maldives and India, said it had inked a deal to operate four hotels of Oman Hotels and Tourism Company (OHTC). . Al Falaj and Ruwi Hotels in Muscat, Al Wadi in Sohar and Sur Plaza in Sur would add 406 rooms to its portfolio, the company said in a statement.

The properties are now managed by OHTC.

“Aitken Spence will be submitting a plan to the board of OHTC to improve the four properties and to position them to exploit the emergent tourism climate in the region,” Aitken Spence chairman Harry Jayawardena said in the statement.

Aitken Spence, a part of Jayawardena’s Stassen’s group, says it was the first Sri Lankan hotel company to enter the Maldives in 1993 and India in 2007.

In first half of the current financial year most of Aitken Spence’s leisure profits came from Maldives and it lost money in Sri Lanka which has been hit by an internal conflict. December quarter numbers are expected any day.

In India the group already runs two hotels under management contracts and five more are due to start.