March 13, 2017 / 9:52 AM / 6 months ago

Shangri-La hikes Sri Lankan investment by 60 pct to $800 mln

COLOMBO, March 13 (Reuters) - Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Asia has increased its investment in Sri Lankan properties by 60 percent to $800 million, in order to meet demand for larger-than-planned apartments in Colombo, an official said on Monday.

The international hotel brand had originally planned to invest $500 million in a 541-room hotel and 390 apartments in Colombo and another 300-room resort in the island nation’s southern district of Hambantota.

“Investment has increased because of the project enhancement,” Neluka de Alwis, head of sales and marketing at Shangri-La Hotels Lanka (Private) Limited, told Reuters.

The company has changed the design of the apartments due to demand for larger units, de Alwis added.

Shangri-La, in 2012, had estimated that the total cost of the project could climb by 10 percent to $550 million due to last-minute design changes.

De Alwis said the Colombo hotel was expected to be completed by 2017, later than an initial target of 2015, while the apartments, shopping complex and conference facilities would be finished by 2018.

Shangri-La has already opened the resort in Hambantota, where Sri Lanka is considering creating a special economic zone for Chinese investors.

The 300-room Hambantota resort on 145 acres of beach-front land is the first of the two luxury property projects in Sri Lanka that the Hong Kong-listed group has planned in a bid to cash in on the boom in tourist arrivals following the end of the country’s 26-year war nearly eight years ago.

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals and revenue from tourism hit record highs in 2016.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently manages 99 hotels around the world under the Shangri-La brand with a room inventory of over 40,000. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal, Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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