Araliya Group of companies is now ready to expand its hotel room capacity to 1,014 rooms following the opening of 304 roomed Unawatuna luxury beach hotel in Galle on March 20.
The 14 storied new luxury beach resort and spa was built at a cost of USD 17.12 million in the back drop of world renowned Rumassala sanctuary, Unawatuna beach and exotic coral reef with the aim of becoming the number one iconic hotel in Asia, Araliya rice brand business tycoon Dudley Sirisena said.
Unawatuna is one of the ten best and most charming seashores in the world and it was one of the reasons of proving the claim of Asia’s number one hotel, he ascertained.
"There is simply no way around it as COVID-19 will continue to figure in Sri Lanka‘s future of the hospitality industry amidst zero tourist arrivals for eight consecutive months since the end March last year. Somebody should dare to come up with positive mind set pinning hope for the initial rebound in travel demand pick up slowly, but surely in many destinations including Sri Lanka within a month or two," he said.
Therefore, hoteliers should take necessary, measures to be well prepared for recovery, while also devising proper revival strategy with positive expectations, he added.
“Providing an upscale, luxury hotel experience while implementing safety measures during Covid-19 pandemic is no minor matter," he said, adding that he has already opened Araliya Red Hotel in the picturesque surroundings and the natural beauty of Nuwara Eliya and its race course.
The Araliya Group continues its hotel network expansion with the plan of building 40 room extension to Milton hotel in Unwatuna, Galle with a day/night food court and Irish pub especially for the benefit of local travelers.
The modern food court with all facilities will cater to the needs of travelers using Galle road to visit their home villages and towns in the South, Sirisena said, adding that this will be most probably his last project before bidding adieu to his business empire.
However, environmentalists and politicians are vehemently protesting against these mega hotel projects claiming that an environmentally exotic and highly receptive areas in the South and Up country were being severely devastated by these initiatives.
Rejecting allegations of environmental destruction, Dudley Sirisena noted that these projects had been carried out following all environmental conservation guidelines with the clearance and approval of relevant government institutions including the coast conservation department.
He told the Business Times that “every good or bad thing has an equal and opposite reaction and he has nothing more to say other than the present plight of Sri Lankans was the result of that reaction."