Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Lakeside woos travellers from China, India

ECONOMYNEXT – Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, a 5-star graded city hotel owned by Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings group said it had started targeting Chinese and Indian tourists helping push up occupancy.

India is Sri Lanka’s largest source market and China is now the second. In 2015, 316,000 out of 1.79 million tourists were from India, up 30 percent from a year earlier. Chinese arrivals also grew 67 percent to 214,000.

Cinnamon Lakeside had rebuilt a dedicated floor for Chinese tourists with the décor, room amenities, and menus with Mandarin speaking guest relations officers.

"The Hotel has received very positive feedback from this segment, which will undoubtedly enable the Hotel to maximise the potential from China," Chairman Susantha Ratnayake told shareholders.

With state-run SriLankan Airlines, the hotel had also launched a holiday package for Indian travellers called ‘See, Shop Party Colombo’ package, which was competitively priced, he said.

Many of Sri Lanka’s high end hotels, long used to serving European guests, had been slow to adapt to competition as new properties opened up and Sri Lanka’s tourism arrivals underwent a transformation, some analysts say.

Ratnayake said occupancy at Colombo city hotels, which fell for two years had started to go up in the last quarter.

Cinnamon Lakeside was partially closed more than half the year for refurbishment, which had reduced revenues and profits.

Profits fell 45 percent to 320 million rupees as occupancy and banquet revenues fell.  However the firm expects stronger results with rupee depreciation also helping nominal revenues. It has a 3.0 million dollar loan which had generated a 42 million rupee forex loss.





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