The Aitken Spence group is gearing for a possible expansion of its resorts in its Maldives while continuing to increase its focus on Sri Lanka as well. The organization is looking at “consolidating its presence in the Maldives and given the right opportunity we might expand in the future,” a company official said. In fact the group’s Adaaran Resorts in the Maldives are set to increase room rates in the wake of a new tax policy in the island nation.
Maldives has introduced a new tax policy called the Tourism GST or TGST of 3.5% that is being charged from hotels. This is now being passed onto the tour operators in a bid to overcome this tax, Adaaran Resorts Maldives COO Upul Peiris told the Business Times.
He noted that inspite of the increased rates they were confident of over 78% occupancy because of the value added services being provided. Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi and Adaaran Select Meedhupparu are the four existing Spence resorts on the islands of Maldives.
In Sri Lanka, the group continues to invest heavily on its local hotels, an official said. With an over 20,000 bed capacity in the Maldives, the country has observed a 21% growth compared to 2009 with guest arrivals at 750,000.
Commenting on the atoll nation’s ability to overcome the depression, it was noted that with the growing Chinese and Korean markets feeding well into the resorts helped to see the industry through this period as well, Mr. Peiris said.
He noted that Maldives was picking up well and bagging the award for being the best honeymoon destination at the World Travel Awards and coming in second place for the Leisure Beach segment and number three for anniversaries and celebrations and Dive and water sports as well.
This has proved well for the neighbouring island nation that will this year witness 15 new international brands come up there some of which are Ritz Carlton, Jumeirah, Shangri-La, Marriott, Regency and the Renaissance.
The Adaaran resorts have a total room capacity of 610 rooms with 1220 beds; and with the national average in Maldives is 72% occupancy Aitken Spence can boast of an over 6% of this total. The group is also currently the fourth largest foreign investor in the Maldives. The highest number of tourists to the atoll nation is mostly from the UK, China, Italy, Russia and Germany being the top five countries.