Marriott International has signed an agreement with Weligama Hotel Properties Ltd., a fully owned subsidiary of East West Properties PLC, to open a hotel in Sri Lanka, the Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa in 2014 – this will be Marriott’s first property on the Indian Ocean island.
“Marriott is delighted to be extending its portfolio and opening a world-class hotel in Sri Lanka” commented Simon Cooper, president and managing director Marriott, Asia Pacific. “Sri Lanka is a destination that has great potential and opportunity and we hope to capitalise on that and establish a strong presence in the country. We are confident that the reputation of Marriott Hotels and Resorts and the power of Marriott Rewards, our loyalty programme, will create great interest from both local and international travellers and be successful in promoting the beautiful area of Weligama Bay, as well as the country itself as this is our first hotel here.”
Commenting on the project Mr. Nahil Wijesuriya, Chairman, East West Properties PLC said: “We are among the first companies in Sri Lanka to sign up with an international branded hotel company and to open as early as 2014. The resort is being built according to Marriott International’s five star brand standards, with a beach frontage of 115 meters on the Galle-Matara road in the South-East of the country. The construction is being carried out in-house by East West Engineering Services (Pvt) Ltd. so we have direct control of every aspect of the construction of the resort and are confident that it will be of the highest standards and quality.”
Marriott International is a world renowned operator and franchiser of a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts which include Bulgari Hotels and Resorts and The Ritz Carlton. Marriott International currently operates over 3,700 hotels in over 73 countries and territories around the globe. Marriott Hotels and Resorts are Marriott International’s signature and most widely distributed brand and is also known for the world’s largest loyalty program, Marriott Rewards.
Weligama, located 144km from Colombo is a popular tourist destination renowned for its sandy beaches. Famous for its stilt-fishermen perched on a cross bar of a single pole planted into the sea bed, this attraction has been captured in every corner of the world depicting Sri Lanka as a preferred destination of choice for travellers from all over the world.
The Hotel will be located in Weligama, a part of Matara which is one of the largest cities on the south coast of Sri Lanka, where tourism and fishing are the two main businesses. Tourism is the mainstay of the south-western coast of Sri Lanka. The services sector is expected to be the primary engine of growth in coming years which is expected to be led by tourism.
2011 was declared as the “Visit Sri Lanka” year by the government. The country witnessed record levels of tourist arrivals in the early months of the year; a trend that is expected to continue for the remainder of the year.
“We see great opportunity in Sri Lanka with ever-increasing visitor numbers to the country,” continued Cooper. “While India, UK and Germany are the largest source markets for hotels in Sri Lanka; the Middle East and Russia are the emerging source markets and with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (“SLTDA”) aiming to achieve a target of 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016 we are confident of attracting great leisure and business guests to the property.”
With some 640sq metres of flexible ballroom space, the hotel should prove extremely popular in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition (MICE) market. While those travelling to Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa on holiday, will be able to take full advantage of the wide leisure offering at the hotel which includes three restaurants, a pool with a pool bar, spa, fitness centre and a beautiful stretch of beach.