|By Mario Andree, The Island, Colombo, Sri
Lanka / Asia News NetworkMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 28, 2011--COLOMBO (THE ISLAND/ANN) -- With Sri Lanka's tourism industry booming and many international investors eyeing the country for possible investment opportunities, a Thailand based leisure company in collaboration with Hemas leisure arm, Serandib, on Saturday launched its first Avani Resort and Spa in Sri Lanka.
Thailand based Minor Hotel Group is planning to increase its hotel portfolio to 125 hotels by 2015 from 36 at present, and Sri Lanka is one of the key destinations. Hemas, together with Minor, are looking at developing other properties in the Southern and Eastern coasts of Sri Lanka.
The rebranding to Avani is expected to attract more tourists to the country, especially of the Minor portfolio, as it already deals with several leading global brands, to assist Sri Lanka achieve its goal of 2.5 million tourists by 2015.
Sri Lanka recently welcomed the 750,000th tourist to enter the country for this year which was also the target expected by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. The government now expects Sri Lanka would achieve more than 800,000 tourist arrivals this year.
The Minor Hotel Group would also promote Sri Lanka at international trade shows, exhibitions and would conduct an advertising campaign to promote Sri Lanka and its hotels in the country.
Hotel Serandib Benthota which was rebranded as Avani Resort and Spa has undergone an extensive refurbishment of 650 million rupee (US$5.7 million).
Minor Hotel Group bought in a 20 percent stake into Serandib Leisure in 2006. It operates several world renowned brands such as Anantara and Marriott. It launched its first Avani property by rebranding Hotel Serandib Benthota.
Hotel Serandib Benthota had enjoyed 75 percent occupancy and has now been given a promising future by Minor Hotel Group.
Serandib Hotels Chairman Abbas Eusufally said that Hemas was looking for other possible investment opportunities in the leisure sector focusing on the Southern coast and few in the East.
Next year, several more properties are expected to enter the Avani brand.
(c)2011 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)
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