For many decades, visitors to Sri Lanka have been provided with identical packages, which included beaches, round trips covering the cultural triangle and the hill country and to a lesser extent wildlife parks. The only noteworthy new addition to the old repertoire is whale and dolphin watching off Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee. Recognizing the need to provide new experiences to tourists, MMBL Leisure Holdings has teamed up with the Jetwing Group to provide a totally new experience to tourists as well as locals by adding houseboats to Sri Lanka’s list of tourist attractions.
Likewise, the company says it is currently in negotiation with a Scandinavian firm with a view to introducing a ferry cum passenger service between Colombo and Kochi, located in the west coast of India and Colombo and Tuticorin. Another interest of the company is to introduce a coastal service to attract tourists to hop from one port to another, such as Colombo, Galle, Hambantota, Trincomalee and Kankasanthurai, providing them with an unforgettable nautical experience.
With a view to plugging on to the fast developing tourism sector, MMBL-Pathfinder has set up an investment arm, MMBL Leisure Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd., to make strategic investments in niche leisure sector projects aimed at meeting expectations of tourists with diverse interests. It is the vision of the newly established company to come up with new ideas and fill the missing gaps in the industry, so as to better serve the increasing number of tourists.
Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of MMBL Leisure Holdings, who earlier functioned as Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Promotion Bureau, was quite upbeat about future prospects of tourism. ‘Where tourism is concerned, Sri Lanka’s potential is much greater than what we are currently experiencing today;’ said Goonetilleke with conviction. ‘MMBL Leisure Holdings is doing what it could to concentrate on niche tourism sectors, that would help taking Sri Lanka tourism to the next level,’ he said.
MMBL Leisure Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. was at the forefront from the inception of the ‘Jetwing Jaffna’ hotel project, a joint venture involving MMBL Leisure Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. Jetwing Hotels, Regency Teas and several other investors, which was declared open on April 3. Speaking on future plans, K. Balasundaram, CEO of MMBL-Pathfinder Group disclosed that his company was currently making preliminary plans to come up with a mixed development project in Jaffna town, which would provide space for a shopping mall, an entertainment complex and apartments targeting visitors, including Sri Lankan expatriates, who now visit the peninsula in large numbers.