The Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority is planning to capitalise on the reputation of Arugam Bay, in the East, as a world renowned tourism destination and is hoping to add 700 new rooms to the existing capacity of 850, which is the need of the hour according to the Regional Tourism Chamber. According to tourism officials two new hotel projects are awaiting approvals from the central authorities to develop star-class hotels of 75 and 60 rooms in Arugam Bay, which has been identified as a top 10 global surfing destination.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Head of Standards and Quality Assurance, Dileepa Mudadeniya told journalists thatArugamBayhas much potential, but needed more development to help the region grow and further enhance the livelihoods of its citizens. The two new hotel projects would give more life to the region, attracting more investment. He declined to elaborate further on the new investment due to the evaluation process currently underway.
At the 2nd International Surfing Competition, organised by the Association of Surfing Professionals and hosted by the Economic Development Ministry and Sri Lanka Tourism, Mudadeniya said one project was being evaluated at the moment, and that he had visited the site for the proposed hotel development project. The surfing competition drew 95 surfers, consisting 55 women and 40 men, from 22 leading tourism markets forSri Lanka.
According to regional hotel owners,ArugamBayis witnessing a high occupancy rate, where surfing season occupancy rates are usually at 100 percent. With demand for rooms rising, rates have gone up to Rs. 15,000 a night without most of the facilities rest houses in other parts of the country offered, where rooms are priced at Rs. 2000 to Rs 5000. The room rate of a five star hotel in Colombo was currently at around Rs. 15,000, Mudadeniya pointed out. Several plots of land in the region have been allocated to individuals to develop hotels and rest houses and according to the Regional Tourism Chamber, many projects would take off the ground by end next year.
The people living in the area speaking to The Island Financial Review said they were pleased with the event shifting from the Maldives to Sri Lanka, giving their livelihoods a big boost. Many residents were smiling and looked happy.