Sunday, February 2, 2014

National Geographic calls Sri Lanka the 1st Best Island of the World

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Proposed Crown Hotel in Sri Lanka

Crown’s Sri Lanka Casino Resort Venture to Cost $400 Million

Crown Ltd. (CWN), Australia’s largest gambling company, said a casino resort it’s in talks over co-developing in Sri Lanka will cost about $400 million. The five-star resort will have about 450 hotel rooms and suites at Beira Lake in the center of the capital Colombo, the Melbourne-based company said in a regulatory statement today. Crown, controlled by billionaire Chairman James Packer, also said it’s seeking joint venture partners for the project.
Sri Lanka, for decades a destination for backpackers, religious pilgrims and beach-lovers, is building high-end hotels and casinos to woo wealthier tourists from India and China as it seeks to emulate the success of Singapore and Macau. The resort will join a growing lineup of luxury Colombo hotels, including a $400 million beachfront Shangri-La, the Taj group’s upgraded five-star Samudra Colombo, and a John Keells Holdings Plc. gaming resort. “It is Sri Lanka’s time to shine in Asia,” Packer said in the statement. The resort would “play a significant role in helping to drive increased international in-bound tourism, especially from India and China.” Packer is also seeking to develop a hotel for high-rollers in Australia’s largest city Sydney, as well as projects in Macau and the Philippines via Crown’s 34 percent stake in Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL) Crown also has a chance to build a resort in the Australian city of Brisbane after Queensland state’s government Oct. 14 said it would accept applications to redevelop a riverfront site in the state capital. Crown is “very interested in pursuing an integrated resort in Brisbane,” Packer said in an e-mail last week, “but of course that depends on the Queensland government’s future regulatory framework and is still under consideration”. To contact the reporter on this story: David Fickling in Sydney at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa opened ‘Aliya’, the first hotel in the Cultural Triangle, on Saturday 18 January heralding a new chapter in cultural tourism. It was built under the program to construct 50,000 new hotel rooms to accommodate the increasing number of foreign tourists scheduled to visit Sri Lanka by 2016. ‘Aliya’ (named after the king of Sri Lanka’s wild beasts) built at a cost of Rs. 1.4 billion comprises 96 rooms and is a fusion of many things old and new. Participants in the opening ceremony included Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, Provincial Minister Pamitha Tennakoon, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Bhashwara Gunaratne and Aliya Hotel Chairman/Managing Director Chandra Wickremasinghe. Addressing those who attended the event Wickremasinghe attributed the current success of tourism to the initial five-year tourism development plan implemented under Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s guidance on the advice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Aliya Holiday Resort has been built on a 20-acre area at a cost of US dollars 7.8 million. It will give jobs to 220 unemployed youth of the area and provide nearly 500 others with indirect employment. Aliya Resort built in a 20 acre area blends in with the Sigiriya villages and the simple carefree lifestyle of the people who live here. The architecture successfully links the interior to the exterior landscapes; floor to ceiling windows throughout and what seems like miles of airy open areas. Other facilities of the Resort & Spa also include a state-of-the-art Conference Hall and Meeting Rooms, a well equipped gym, two pools, elephant study centre, a paddy museum, an Ayurveda Spa with in-house doctor for personalised treatments. Aliya’s lounge and bar ‘Migara’ is spectacular by day or night with a 180 panoramic view. ‘Makara’, brings the orient to life with its tantalising Chinese cuisine. ‘Nagula’, is a specialty restaurant, which borders the Paddy Museum and has a mouth watering repertoire of local dishes. The UNESCO world heritage, Sigiriya rock and Pidurangala seven kilometres away can be viewed from the hotel. By 2016, 2.5 million tourists are expected to visit Sri Lanka. Last year 1,274,593 tourists – the highest number in history – visited the country, bringing in an income of US dollars 1.45 billion. During the period 43 more hotels joined the tourism sphere, providing direct jobs for 112,550 persons while indirectly employing 1,576,000 people. The construction of the 50,000 new hotel rooms will create 500,000 new jobs associated with the tourism industry. The new holiday resorts will increase sources of foreign exchange and by 2016 Sri Lanka is expected to earn nearly three billion US dollars in FE annually.