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Wednesday, 01 September, 2010, 13 : 00 PM [IST]

Government of Sri Lanka to lease out 12 islands to set up hotels and resorts

Government of Sri Lanka will lease out around 5,500 acres spread across 12 islands, to potential investors who want to invest in setting up hotels and resorts in the country. The 12 islands are located in Kalpitiya area of Western Sri Lanka, close to the capital city, Colombo.

According to Dr Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism, the tendering process for leasing out identified lands in these 12 islands will begin within a month’s time. The lease period will be for 35 years and further enhancement will be considered depending on the volume of investment that comes in.

Godahewa mentioned that Sri Lanka Tourism is in the process of identifying more locations for developing tourism infrastructure, including hotels, resorts, convention centres, entertainment centres, marinas, etc. in the island nation. He informed that interests of investors will be fully protected in Sri Lanka. “We can think of separate tax holidays for investments amounting to more than USD 500, 000,” added Godahewa. When asked about his expectation in terms of Indian investments, he said that Sri Lanka Tourism expects between USD 300 and USD 400 million from Indian investors.

Sri Lanka Tourism has set a target of 2.5 million foreign tourist arrivals by 2015. “We need to have around 30,000 more hotel rooms to achieve the target growth. We have achieved a growth of more than 40 per cent in arrival numbers in the first half of the current year and hope to achieve the target of 2.5 million before 2015,” said Godahewa.

When asked about the infrastructure development of North and East of the country, Godahewa said that they are virgin territories as far as tourism development was concerned. He said that land for two beach resorts and two island resorts have already been identified in these areas and more locations will be identified in the coming months.

For all kinds of investments in the tourism segment, the Sri Lankan government has empowered Sri Lanka Tourism Board as the ‘single window clearance’ body.
 
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