Singapore’s Asian Resorts & Casinos, has floated Katana City Developments Private Limited to develop the project that is situated close to the main Bandaranaike International Airport, the Board of Investment (BOI) said Wednesday.
Developed over a landbase of 200 acres, the project plans to include hotels with over 2,500 rooms, multiple shopping centres and a host of other leisure and commercial elements.
“In due course the Katana City will have well in excess of three-billion dollars in construction and investment,” the statement said.
The project will be a boost to Sri Lanka’s growing tourism industry, said M M C Ferdinando, BOI’s Chairman and Director General.
Since the war ended in 2009, Sri Lanka has forecasted a five-fold increase of 2.5 million foreign visitors by 2016, who will generate some 2.75 billion dollars in revenues.
The tear-shaped island attracted 57,506 visitors in May, which helped raise arrivals from January to May by 18.2 percent to 387,622, according to Sri Lanka Tourism figures.
The leisure industry was hurt during the island’s nearly four decades long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May 2009. The United Nations estimates some 100,000 people perished during the conflict.
In 2011, the Indian Ocean Island welcomed a record 855,975 visitors and earned 830.3 million dollars from the trade, according to Central Bank of Sri Lanka figures.
The tourism authority hopes to attract about a million visitors this year, and tips earnings to hit about one billion dollars.
“Katana City will deliver an exciting tourism offering for high volume arrivals, and the result will be a major step up in job creation (estimated to be over 10,000 when fully developed), tax revenue and tourist arrivals for this vitally important sector,” Ferdinando said.
Under the development plan, the airport will be connected to the Katana City by a Monorail which will also be built by the developers.
“This project has been planned to put Sri Lanka’s tourism offer on a par with Singapore and others in this region,” said Katana City’s Director, Prashanth Koorapati.
“We are planning to make sure that the concept adheres to a high standard of eco sensitivity and defines itself to show the best of Sri Lanka, not to just copy previous projects completed elsewhere,” Koorapati said.
The BOI is targeting 1.7 billion dollars of investments this year, lower than 2.0 billion dollars projected by the central bank, due to weak economic conditions in the West, Ferdinando told a UK-based newspaper last month.
Sri Lanka attracted a record 1.0 billion dollars in investments last year, mainly from Far East countries for new hotel developments.