24th February 2012, www.lankabusinessonline.com
A joint venture between Singaporean and Sri Lankan investors has begun work on a hotel in the island's capital Colombo with plans for up to six hotels with initial investments of 4.5 billion rupees.
The 150-roomed OZO Colombo hotel is located on the corner of Clifford Road and Marine Drive, a road along the coast in the capital Colombo.
The 3.5 star hotel will not have spas or up-market restaurant, catering to a mid-market, adventurous type of traveller, and will under the OZO brand, managed by Thailand's Onyx group, officials said.
Onyx is a Thai hotel brand that is venturing out overseas.
"We see the OZO brand as an ideal platform for bringing style and innovation to the mid-market sector," said Bob Kundanmal, chairman of Sino Lanka Hotels Holdings, the joint venture.
Onyx is privately held by the Charanachitta family and is an Italian-Thai public company.
"Sri Lanka is one of the most vibrant destinations in the Asia-Pacific and one that is experiencing dynamic growth in tourism. We plan to make it a key hub for Onyx going forward," said Peter Henley, chief executive of Onyx Hospitality group.
The Sino-Lanka joint venture is going to invest 4.5 billion rupees in three hotels over the next two years.
This includes the one in Colombo started Friday as well as a hotel in southern Galle and another in Kandy in the central hills with 120 rooms.
Ground breaking work on the 140-roomed Galle hotel is expected to start in next two months.
The group aims to have 410 rooms initially with investments of 4.5 billion rupees.
The first hotel is set to open for the 2013 tourism season.
The group is also looking at building three more hotels later on.
"We will eventually invest 100 million US dollars for all six hotels," said Stefan Furkhan, a director of Sino Lanka Hotels Holdings.
Furkhan said over 50 percent of the joint venture is held by Sri Lankan shareholders.
The other three hotels will be under different brands. Other brands of the Onyx group include Saffron, Amari, Shama
Shama is a serviced apartment brand in China.