Sri Lanka’s JKH poised to put more cash into leisure

Nov 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings is ready to invest nearly 6.0 billion rupees over the next two to three years in upgrading and building new hotels if tourism arrivals pick up after the end of a 30-year war as expected, an official said. By 2011 JKH would be ready to start a 100 room 5-star hotel at its existing land in Ahungalle. The project may cost 1.6 billion rupees.

It could also build another 4-star 120 room hotel in the East Coast on its existing or acquired property. JKH had access to property in Kuchchaveli as well as in Nilaveli, Gunewardene said. Deputy chairman Ajith Gunewardene said JKH was planning a 190 room hotel in Beruwela on which design work would be finished by next April.

The hotel is expected to cost around 1.7 billion rupees, and will be a 4-star rated hotel coming under the group’s mid-market ‘Chaaya’ brand. Its up market 5-star properties are branded Cinnamon.

JKH has a 10-acre long stretch in Beruwala, after it bought land from Sri Lanka’s Confifi group next to an existing property. JKH’s Beach Hotel Bayroo, in Beruwala was damaged during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

JKH has already closed its 80 room Club Oceanic Hotel in the Eastern coast of Trincomalee to be refurbished at a cost of 400