2011-09-05 (China Military News cited from http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=33917″>island.lk) — The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is positive about the China Aviation Technology Import-Export Corporation’s (CATIC) five star hotel project which is expected to be launch by the end of this year, despite the allegations levelled against it by UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva.
With the country expecting to attract more than 2.5 million tourists by 2015 the government has begun to sell and lease out land for development in several areas of the country.
After the successful sale of 10 acres facing the Gall Face green to Shangri-La at US$ 125 million, CATIC followed with a proposal to invest US$ 136 million on property close to what was sold to Shangri La.
However, the government recently rejected CATIC’s offer to buy the land and is offering instead to lease out the property for 99 years after Dr. De Silva heavily criticised the proposed deal.
Dr. De Silva has constantly criticised the government for not following a transparent process in land deals, particularly the one involving CATIC. Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, however claims the processes are transparent.
Dr. De Silva at a recent forum said, “I understand the land sale to Shangri-La for its prestigious reputation, but why CATIC which operates hotels below two-star in China and far worse, it is a military equipment producer.”
SLTDA Assistant Director Standards and Quality Assurance Jeevana Fernando commenting on these allegation told The Island Financial Review, that the CATIC project was a viable one and would help the country attract more Chinese tourists in order to achieve the 2015 tourist arrival targets.
He said though the project has been initiated as a five-star hotel, the actual rankings would be given only after completion and it could be a low-star ranking as well.
“Though according to Dr. De Silva CATIC has no five star hotel in operation, to start one in Sri Lanka is not a must. There are several hotel operators who had started their first hotel as a five star with no experience at all.”
With the capacity constraints looming and the number of arrivals increasing Sri Lanka needs many hotels as possible to support the targeted number of arrivals by 2015. According to the SLTDA the room capacity needs to be increased by nearly 35,000 by 2015.