A leading Swiss hospitality brand Mövenpick is upbeat on Sri Lanka's prospects in tourism industry, giving it confidence about its first-ever hotel in Colombo.
“Sri Lanka’s natural hospitality and warmth is legendary. Sri Lanka is a gorgeous country. Following the end of the conflict Sri Lanka has great potential for the future,” Jean Gabriel Peres, President and CEO of Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts who recently visited the country told Daily FT.
Recently in town was Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts President and CEO Jean Gabriel Peres to sign the management agreement with Softlogic Holdings. The Colombo hotel, excavation work for which slated for January, will be completed within 24 months.
At present Mövenpick manages a collection of 76 hotels worldwide in 25 countries in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa and has 30 more under construction. By end 2015 it will manage 100 hotels. Of the 30 upcoming properties are Ankara, (Turkey), Dubai (four projects – United Arab Emirates); Abu Dhabi (three projects – United Arab Emirates), Shanghai (China), Dharamshala (India).
“I know how Sri Lanka was 30 years ago and was pleasantly surprised to see its vastly improved profile today,” the Mövenpick CEO said. “The country has changed tremendously for the better now. The city is very clean and support infrastructure as well as real estate developments are encouraging. I am impressed with the quality of new hotels and the entry of several new brands,” he added.
A veteran hotelier, Peres said Sri Lanka tourism has the potential to be successful as Thailand is today as hospitality is natural for Sri Lankans. With increased marketing as well as specific positioning of Sri Lanka such as for health tourism, MICE tourism, etc., entry of more brands as well as greater flight connections will vastly improve prospects for Sri Lanka, the Mövenpick CEO emphasised.
The global brand is also looking for opportunities to manage a beach resort to complement and expand its offering in Sri Lanka.