Sri Lanka’s east, north better for tourism investment: IFC expert

ECONOMYNEXT – Fresh opportunities for investing in tourism projects lie in Sri Lanka’s east and north as the traditional south-west region is crowded but access issues will need to be sorted out, a senior official  from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) said.

The IFC, part of the World Bank group, has been investing mostly in business hotels in national capitals and secondary cities,  said Shaun Mann, Innovation and Future Technology Specialist at IFC.

“We have shied away from pure leisure-type investments which account for maybe 30 percent of our portfolio,” he told the ‘Future of Tourism’ summit organised by the Cinnamon group of hotels.

Asked what investors prefer in tourism projects, Mann said investor preferences differ and depend on the destination.

Sri Lanka has developed the coastal areas from Colombo down south to Galle and going east towards Hambantota.

“The totally undeveloped east coast has comparable, if not better, assets in terms of beaches,” Mann said.
“From an investments perspective I would look at east and north,” he said. “The areas around Colombo are fairly crowded. But then you have access issues.”

Mann said the tourism industry should get together with transport providers and figure out how to get people to relatively less developed areas like the east and north.

Many destination have done air taxi type services to promote the destination and get if off ground, Mann said.  (Colombo/October 01 2015)

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