Sri Lank Aitken Spence eye war-torn areas for tourism

Aug 07, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence said it was eyeing tourism projects in the north and east of the island after the end of an internal conflict though group earnings dropped as arrivals slumped both at home and in the Maldives. “We are vigorously looking at opportunities in all sectors to partner in the development of the North and East provinces,” managing director J M S Brito said in a statement.

“Concerted destination marketing and infrastructure development in targeted tourism hotspots would give reasons for the industry to be bullish about Sri Lanka’s tourism prospects, in spite the recession curbing global travel.”

A 30-year war with Tamil Tiger separatists ended in May when its leadership was wiped out by the military. Eastern Sri Lanka in particular, has some of the most beautiful beach stretches in the island, including Arugam Bay, a top surfing destination.

Group profits dropped 24.1 percent to 293.8 million rupee for the June quarter, while revenues dropped 20.0 percent to 5.0 billion rupees.

Aitken Spence is the largest foreign resort operator in the Maldives.

“A sharp drop in tourist arrivals to the Maldives due to the global recession had a negative effect on the tourism sector earnings