Maldives and India keeps Sri Lankan leisure operators afloat

November 29, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s top hotel groups are increasingly relying on their Maldivian operations and investments into India for survival, as an escalation in violence deters visitors here “The projection for Sri Lanka is rather poor at least for the next few months. If the security situation improves hopefully, things will certainly improve,” Susith Jayawickrama, Director/General Manager Aitken Spence Hotels says.

Aitken Spence group, one of the largest leisure chains in the country has been able keep its leisure division afloat for the last few months thanks to the five resorts in Male, which are performing well.

Despite steep prices, holidaymakers are flocking towards, with arrivals up 35 percent year-on-year to 54,721 as at end October, officials said.

“In Sri Lanka we have possibly some of the best properties in terms of the locality and the uniqueness of the properties. If the security situation improves, certainly we’ll be able to demand higher prices,” Jayawickrama says.

Officials say local hotel occupancy is down to about 30 percent in what used to be the beginning of the highly profitable winter season.

October tourist arrivals have seen a 12 percent decl