By Rohan Gunasekera
ECONOMYNEXT – Although a lot of investments are going into building up-market hotels to attract high spenders, Sri Lanka should not lose sight of the need to cater to domestic and mid-range tourists, a hospitality forum in Colombo was told.
Kevin Wallace, Managing Director, Dream Hotel Group, said Sri Lanka has a sizeable segment of domestic tourists which the industry needs to cater to and which do not patronise five-star hotels.
“Sri Lanka has a lot of domestic tourists who I don’t think will be served by the likes of Shangri-La or Anantara,” he told the two-day Indian Ocean Hospitality Investment Conference Indian Ocean in Colombo.
“Sri Lankan companies like LOLC group are looking at 4-star and mid scale brands,” Wallace said. “You don’t have Holiday Inn. You have a huge opportunity to serve the inter-regional market with more budget hotels.”
Prema Cooray, Chairman of The Rainforest Ecolodge, agreed, saying the mid-market segment was virtual absent in recent developments.
“There’s a lot of room for them because everyone is not going for 5-star hotels. Sri Lanka should be looking at developing mid-range hotels too,” he told the forum organised by Sphere Conferences, the conference arm of Singapore Press Holdings Limited.
“The India and China markets will fit in with that very well.”
India has emerged as Sri Lanka’s biggest source market for tourists with China catching up fast with a rapid rise in arrivals in recent months.
(COLOMBO, August 25, 2016)