From left: Assistant VP, Hotels and Hospitality Roopa George, Mandeep Lamba and Gagan Singh | (Pic by Aruna Udaya Alwis)

Leading International property consultancy JLL last week released an incisive report investigating Sri Lanka’s rapidly evolving hospitality industry. The report provides insights into the robust growth of the tourism sector in Sri Lanka, which Forbes magazine ranked among the world’s Top 10 ‘Coolest Countries’ to be visited in 2015.

Gagan Singh, CEO – Business India & Chairperson Sri Lanka Operations, JLL said, “This report is timely and extremely topical. It explores Sri Lanka’s current status on hotel product offerings in close detail, and also examines various key aspects that are playing a role in shaping the country’s burgeoning hospitality industry.”

Sri Lanka is on the brink of a strong reform agenda. For its hospitality industry, building on the strong infrastructure base, establishing a structured investor framework and providing a focus and investment into the promotion and development of the tourism sector will be the immediate needs. Equally critical will be a clear positioning for ‘Brand Sri Lanka’, which will be the key to driving the long-term sustainability of the industry.”

Mandeep Lamba, Managing Director – JLL Hotels & Hospitality said, “We are massively invested into Sri Lanka’s hospitality market, which boasts of ongoing double-digit growth in tourist arrivals year-on-year. The country registered an average Compounded Annual Growth rate of 16% over the past five years, and is now working towards a target of 2.2 million tourist arrivals in 2016. The business potential is immense, and JLL has taken its customary leadership position in harnessing it.”

Key Report Findings:

♦ Sri Lanka had close to 1.8 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2015, demonstrating a growth of 17.8% over the previous year.

♦ Sri Lanka has approximately 28,000 rooms, of which over 60% fall in the informal segment

♦ There is a planned hotel supply of close to 8,000 rooms, largely in Colombo and along the South-west coast

♦ Colombo has seen an increase in hotel supply in the 3 and 4 star segments lead to a slight decline in overall occupancy levels, while the city has also seen a slight decline in Average Room Rates

♦ While occupancy levels over the past three years have seen a steady increase, the South-west coast has seen a reduction in room rates during the year due to increased competition, with a substantial increase in room inventory along this stretch

♦ There is a gradual shift in tourist profile, with arrivals from the traditional European source markets declining, while Asian countries have increased their market share – led by China and India.

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