Sri Lanka woos high rollers as tsunami takes away tourists

RATGAMA, Sri Lanka, Dec 24 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is struggling as earnings slumped following the tsunami, but a year after massive death and destruction an upmarket boutique hotel hopes to spearhead a revival. RATGAMA, Sri Lanka, Dec 24 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is struggling as earnings slumped following the tsunami, but a year after massive death and destruction an upmarket boutique hotel hopes to spearhead a revival. The upmarket Aditya was under construction when giant waves smashed into this southern coastal resort, but the owners still decided to “indulge their passion” and sink 170 million rupees (1.7 million dollars) into it.

The 12-suite plush property opened Tuesday with a top price tag of 500 dollars a night for the elite “Sooriya”, or sun suite. But it also has lower priced accommodation for 230 dollars, about four times holiday makers’ average nightly spending on hotels.

“If you don’t build your passion because of the tsunami, then you are giving up on life itself,” says Husain Dawoodbhoy, managing director of the Aditya which has no parking for tourist coaches.

“We are not catering to busloads of tourists,” Dawoodbhoy said. “This is an exclusive experience. We’re not wo