Business

Four tourist resort projects being expedited by SLTDA

  • Kuchchaveli, Dedduwa, Kalpitiya, and Yala earmarked
  • Handing over to bidders next year

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is fast-tracking four proposed resort projects in Kuchchaveli, Dedduwa, Kalpitiya, and Yala, with hopes of commencing construction next year.

“The handing over of four properties of the SLTDA to successful bidders will take place next year with the expectation for the construction of resorts to commence in the same year,” SLTDA Chairman Johanne Jayaratne said, speaking to The Sunday Morning Business.

The infrastructure developments would also commence in the same year. The budgetary allocation for these infrastructure developments would be made in the upcoming Budget and the developments will be completed in 2023, according to SLTDA Director General Upali Ratnayake.

The SLTDA identified these tourism zones between the period 2004-2014 with a view to avoid ad hoc tourism development through specific guidelines and themes. The resorts would be named Kuchchaveli Beach Resort, Dedduwa Lake Resort, Kalpitiya Island Resort, and Yala Wild Resort.

The resorts that would be developed according to a theme under this programme are Kuchchaveli Beach Resort and Kalpitiya Island Resort.

“The Kuchchaveli and Kalpitiya lands were identified in 2012. We consider the Kuchchaveli land as the next luxury beach resort and in Kalpitiya, we want to have the first island resort of the country,” Ratnayake noted.

Ratnayake noted that the SLTDA is currently developing a master plan for Kuchchaveli and Kalpitiya with private and public sector participation. With the support of the private sector, infrastructure development of Kalpitiya, including roads and water and electricity supply, would commence next year.

With an investment potential of $ 91.43 million, the Kuchchaveli Beach Resort land is 300 km away from Colombo. 445 acres of land are available for investors and the leasing of the entire land is expected to generate an annual income of $ 1.39 million.

So far, the SLTDA has leased out only to one investor for the value of $ 6.86 million, while the investment project is in operation.

“We have RFPs (requests for proposals) from potential investors through a paper advertisement on 21 July 2019. We have not finalised it yet,” said Ratnayake.

The Kalpitiya Island Resort has a total of 12 lands, two of which are already leased out. The SLTDA is still to receive the investment amounts of those investors due to several issues experienced by them, which the SLTDA is trying to resolve in order to proceed with the investment operations.

The other project is the Dedduwa resort, located to the east of Bentota covering 1,800 hectares and comprising water bodies, marshy lands, and abundant paddy lands.

According to Ratnayake, due to the marshy land, the SLTDA has to go for a different modality; they are eying two options at the moment and are yet to finalise one of them.

“One is where a mega developer gets the land and takes care of the infrastructure – the developer has to find investors by himself. The second option is where we have to spend the money on the infrastructure and invite the investors for the product development.”

The development plan will re-open old waterways to Madu Ganga 20 kilometres south and also develop the area surrounding the Dedduwa Lake.

Ratnayake noted that upon commencement of the development, Dedduwa would be a lake resort due to the number of natural water bodies surrounding the area.

Dedduwa is the oldest project among all the four infrastructure projects, as land acquisition for it started in 2005.

Meanwhile, speaking on the Yala resort project, Ratnayake noted that comparatively, Yala is a small project and the leasing of the land is almost done.

“It is not a big project. It consists of seven blocks. Five of them are almost done.”

Yala Wild Resort is a $ 22.86 million project in Hambantota and the land has been already leased out to investors for 99 years. The land is 292 km away from Colombo and can also be accessed through 45 minutes of air travel due to the availability of an Air Force base and helipad.

According to the SLTDA, at the moment, two hotels are operating in the area while one wild bungalow is under construction and six wild bungalows are pending approval. In addition to this, the road facilities leading to these resorts and bungalows also have to be developed.

The Yala land area was acquired in 2014, according to Ratnayake.