ECONOMYNEXT – John Keells Holdings sees its home base Sri Lanka and the Maldives as priority markets for hotel expansion, given the growth potential in both countries, Sunimal Senanayake, Executive Vice President of the group said.
Tourist arrivals had grown rapidly since the island’s 30-year ethnic conflict ended in 2009 and could “hopefully” exceed two million this year, he told a tourism industry forum.
“Given demand from generating markets, this could easily double in the next 4-5 years,” Senanayake said.
“We see growth coming to Sri Lanka from multiple markets,” he told the Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference held in Colombo in partnership with the Sri Lanka Tourism Club.
“We see Sri Lanka as the priority market for further expansion followed by the Maldives which has had very steady growth in the last 10 years.”
Tourist arrivals in the Maldives had grown from 600,000 in 2006 to 1.2 million in 2015 but had been flat in the last two years.
“But it seems to be coming back – in the last two months we have seen occupancy levels going up,” Senanayake said. “And Maldives is one of a kind, unique destinations and very much still in fashion in most generating markets. It still is a lucrative market for investment.”
JKH group has 14 hotels – three in Colombo and eight resorts in Sri Lanka and three in the Maldives.
(COLOMBO, Dec 01, 2016)