By Cheranka Mendis
The Galle Face Hotel Group has put forward an investment of Rs. 2.5 billion for upgrades in properties and restaurants, which are anticipated to be rebranded under themes of ‘prestige,’ ‘heritage’ or ‘rest houses’.
Galle Face Hotel Senior Vice President Chandra Mohotti stated that the company had invested Rs. 1 billion in upgrading some of its properties and restaurants while another Rs. 1.5 billion had been allocated to refurbish the balance properties. A new joint venture hotel in Kandy is also being planned, he said. The hotel will celebrate 150 years of operation in two years.
Speaking at a media briefing organised to highlight the Group’s achievement over the years, namely being the recipient of the first and only Presidential Award for the Best Heritage Hotel in 2009, PATA Grand Award for Best Heritage Hotel in 2011, World Travel Award for the Best Business Hotel in 2011 and Sri Lanka Tourism Award for the Best Heritage Hotel in 2010, Mohotti noted that Galle Face Hotel, the only purpose built hotel in Asia, would uphold and maintain the identity of the country.
With 600 rooms listed in its inventory, the Group hopes to expand while lifting service level to complement the target market of high end tourists, he said. Emphasising that Galle Face Hotel aspires to be a trailblazer in the industry in attracting high-end travellers, Mohotti claimed that the competition for the hotel did not come from other hotels in Sri Lanka. Rather, their competition is the likes of Raffles Hotel Singapore. “However we want our colleagues in the industry to follow suit so that we could grow together with healthy competition.”
On a general note, he added that to reap maximum benefits of tourism, upliftment of knowledge in the industry must take place soon. “What we need is knowledge on hospitality management and sales of marketing. Compared to regional players, Sri Lanka lags behind in trained hotel management.”
Leadership for this must be given from the Tourism Authority, he said. The entire process from hotels and tour guides to immigration must be completely revamped to create a tourist-friendly industry in the country.