John Keells eyes new hotel properties in Maldives, bookings down in Trinco

May 05 (LBO) – John Keells Holdings eyes the Maldives for hotel expansion as city hotels see a slight drop in bookings and its resort on the East coast suffers from current political instability.

We have seen a slight drop in bookings in our city hotels, but the effect on our resort hotels is minimal. Our hotel in Trincomalee (Club Oceanic) has been quite heavily affected, Jayantissa Kehelpannala, Chief Executive Officer of Chaaya Hotels and Resorts, told LBO on Thursday.

A fresh wave of violence between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government broke out in the North and East including Trincomalee, over the past few weeks.

The diversified blue-chip has two city hotels in Colombo that brings in business traffic and 11 resort properties in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Further growth in Maldives is on the cards.

We are looking at increasing our exposure in the Maldives. We have a property that is under construction and are looking at starting in December this year, Kehelpannala said.

John Keells Hotels is also in talks to buy up another resort property in the Maldives, tipped to be the Dhon Veli beach and spa. We are still negotiating, we have not signed