Aitken Spence seeks partner for major resort project in Sri Lanka

NILAVELI, SRI LANKA Aitken Spence PLC, the Colombo-based owner-operator of resorts in the Maldives, India and Oman, is seeking a joint venture partner to build a US$100 million leisure complex on Sri Lanka’s east coast.

Aitken Spence owns 108 acres of beachfront property in Nilaveli. The complex would include two hotels, residential villas and entertainment facilities. One of the hotels would be built by Aitken Spence under its flagship Heritance brand, with the second to be built by the joint venture partner.

“We are looking at a high-end integrated mixed development,” Malin Hapugoda, head of Aitken Spence’s hotel division, tells

The island nation formerly known as Ceylon has seen a boom in tourist development since its decades-old civil war concluded last year.

Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts plans to build a 300-key city resort in Hambantota, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, as well as a 500-key luxury hotel in the capital of Colombo. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts announced the 180-key Mövenpick Hotel Colombo, which is expected to open by mid-2013, while Minor International launched its Anantara brand in Sri Lanka last August.

Sri Lanka recorded the fastest arrivals growth in South Asia in February year over year, up 15%, according to Pacific Asia Travel Association data.