President Mahinda Rajapaksa was Chief Guest at the ground breaking ceremony of Aitken Spence Hotels’ new venture, ‘RIU Resort, Ahungalla’. Hon. Sajin Vass Gunawardena , Member of Parliament, Galle District was also present at the ceremony.
The 501 room resort hotel, which is expected to reach completion in mid 2016, is a USD 100 million project, planned through a joint partnership between RIU Hotels & Resorts, Spain and Aitken Spence.
This project is launched on a unique platform, which takes into consideration the Government’s southern development programmes namely infrastructure such as the southern highway and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport.
Chairman of Aitken Spence, said that the timing of the hotel's opening would be right since the Southern Highway to Hambantota is expected to reach completion by that time. “We have the Mattala Airport facility already in place, giving us an ideal mix for our business model. Aitken Spence has always encouraged infrastructure development in the country and our investment is proof of our confidence and support of the Government's development plans. The strategy for all our beach resorts in the South including the new RIU Resorts is in line with the Government’s vision for the further development of the country, especially in the tourism segment.”
The Chairman referring to a statement made by him in the Group’s 2005 Annual Report stated, “…if you remember in the year following the tsunami when we saw the total destruction of many beach resorts, we made plans to expand both nationally and internationally and our board decided to think globally with our multinational partners and it was in that same financial year that after a long standing partnership with TUI, the World’s largest integrated tour operator the two parties entered into a joint venture. In that very same message I added a rider; that infrastructure in Sri Lanka had to improve in order for us to attract the premium, up market customer. Road and railways had to be developed if we were to stop depending on the bottom end of the tourism market and without the right infrastructure like internal air transport; we were not in a position to attract star quality beach hotels back then.”
Mr. Jayawardena stated that today the climate had changed considerably and with five years into the end of the war, it is the responsibility of the private sector to reap the peace dividends; especially since the current Government has delivered on their promise on infrastructure development. “That a lot has been done and more is being done is clearly evident. Therefore it is now our turn to deliver on our promise. We have delivered on the promise of developing overseas, and continue to do so in Sri Lanka. RIU Hotels & Resorts is a giant step in that direction.”
The international RIU chain traces its history back to 1953, when it was founded by the Riu family in Mallorca. RIU has made its name for its acclaimed all inclusive holiday services, for guests who are looking for perfect relaxation in a single location. In co-ownership with TUI, a long standing partner of Aitken Spence, RIU Resorts is run by the third generation of the Riu family. The Company boasts of more than 100 properties in 16 countries catering to 3.2 million guests a year. The new venture in Ahungalla offers all the promise of RIU combined with the expertise Aitken Spence Hotels has gained over the years in the hotel industry both in Sri Lanka and overseas. The 501 room resort will have 438 double rooms, 30 family rooms, 20 single rooms and 13 suites. Facilities will include restaurants with common buffet areas, theme restaurants, shops, lobby bar, gym and a spa with separate steam and sauna and a large jacuzzi.
Keeping to their ‘everything under one roof’ concept, the RIU Resort in Ahungalla will also be complete with a modern discotheque and karaoke, 24- hour service lounge, bar salon combined with an entertainment plaza, five elevators and three swimming pools including a wet bar which is a pool bar with seating, within one of the pools. Not departing from the family concept there would also be a mini club complete with kids pool, playground and water games as well as a water activities stand for the adventure seeking adults. The Mattala Airport will play a large role in keeping the hotel filled all year round, since TUI will be operating Boeing 787 Dreamliner charters, with the capacity of carrying 300 passengers on a weekly basis to and from the airport transporting guests exclusively to the resort. The business model spearheaded by the Group, apart from having a significant impact on the tourism sector, would also have a snowball effect in developing the industry, especially in the deep south of the country.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Deputy General Manager, Public Relations and Promotions
T: 011 2308 112
Aitken Spence Hotel Managements (Pvt) Ltd
Aitken Spence Tower II
315, Vauxhall Street
Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.