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08 April, 2014 09:14 AM Source: Lanka Business Online - LBO

Apr 08, 2014 (LBO) - Citrus Leisure Plc, which opened a 150-room resort in Waskaduwa, on Sri Lanka's South Western coast is planning another two resorts on the Western and Southern coasts, officials said.

Citrus Hikkaduwa, also in the South Western Coast is already in operation.
Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the 2.2 billion rupee resort in Waskaduwa Sunday as tourist arrivals rose 24.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014 from a year earlier, continuing a boom seen since the end of a civil war in 2009.

"The leisure industry is taking a lead in transforming Sri Lanka," Prema Cooray, Chairman of Citrus Leisure said.

"We are nation blessed with multiple resources which when harnessed, can offer a destination unmatched in attentions.

"Achieving targets we have seen an increase number of tourists flowing in to the country from India and China which is good."

The company is planning to build another resort with 150 rooms and 32 self service villas in Kalpitiya north of Colombo.

Last year the project was put on hold until the Waskaduwa property was completed, and a joint venture partner was sought, the firm had said earlier.

The firm also wants to open a resort in Hambantota in the South of the country.

"We have already purchased the land in Kalpitiya and in the process of finalizing the plan. And for Hambantota we have requested a land in the tourism zone and waiting for their reply," Hemantha Ratnayake, Director Operations of Citrus Leisure said.

"Kalpitiya will be our next development. We have got the approval from the tourist board and we have drawn up the plan also.

"It will be a mixed development .The land is divided in to two by a river and the hotel rooms will face the ocean whereas villas will be facing the river."

The Kalpitiya resort will require an investment of around 2.5 billion rupees, Ratnayake said.

He said a 50-room hotel was being planned for Hambantota.

The newly opened resort in Waskaduwa built on an 8-acre land, is rated 5-star, offering 140 superior rooms, 6 deluxe rooms, 1 luxury suite and 1 presidential suite.

The hotel hopes to sell rooms at around 150 to 250 US dollars at introductory prices.

The hotel has 250 employees and says in-house training will help keep service levels high as demand for tourism sector workers pick up as more properties open and emerging new destinations require specialized new skills.
"About 40 percent of the staff is from in and around the area within 30 kilometers radar and we have recruited top management from all over the island," Ratnayake said.

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