BANGKOK—Best Western International is embarking on a major expansion strategy in one of Asia’s most exciting emerging markets—Sri Lanka. This year, the company will plant its flag in Sri Lanka for the first time in its 68-year history.
Best Western International and local company Elyon Hotels have signed a development partnership to develop the Best Western brand across the country, offering hospitality management expertise to existing and proposed hotels island-wide.
The inaugural property to be launched this summer will be the 60-room Best Western Elyon Colombo hotel. This property will be a charming city hotel with amenities including an all-day dining restaurant, specialty restaurant, a bar, room service, fitness center, and meeting space.
This opening will mark the start of a major nationwide expansion for Best Western in Sri Lanka. Under the new agreement, Elyon Hotels will identify opportunities for new midscale and upscale hotels across the country. These are likely to include locations in the capital Colombo, or other key leisure and business destinations such as Kandy, Mirrisa, and Tangalle.
The initial target for the next three years is to have four more hotels with a portfolio of approximately 400 rooms, which is then expected to rise to 700 rooms within five years.
Best Western’s Vice President of International Operations for Asia and the Middle East, Glenn de Souza, said he was excited by the opportunities in Sri Lanka. “The recent economic boom following the end of three decades of war has seen Sri Lanka develop rapidly,” de Souza said.
“Driven by strong interest from India, China, the Middle East, and Europe, international visitor arrivals to Sri Lanka have been growing exponentially in recent years, reaching one million for the first time in 2012. This is expected to reach 1.5 million visitors in 2014, and as an international hotelier, Best Western has a duty to provide to this soaring number of travelers with quality accommodation options.”
Commenting on this landmark agreement, Presantha Jayamaha, managing director of Elyon Hotels, said, “Tourism infrastructure development in Sri Lanka is seeing fast-paced growth, and we are excited to be a part of these emerging growth opportunities.”
In addition to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh is also a key growth market for Best Western. The size of the domestic population and booming manufacturing sector are primary drivers of growth in this market. Best Western already operates the 51-room Best Western La Vinci Hotel in Dhaka. And the company is now planning a major, multi-brand expansion across Bangladesh, with new midscale, upscale, and luxury hotels opening in Dhaka and the coastal resort town of Cox’s Bazar.
First to open will be two Best Western Plus upscale hotels—a 232-room property in Cox’s Bazar and a 56-room hotel at Dhaka Airport. And potentially in 2015, the company will launch a 448-room Best Western and 720-room Best Western Premier luxury hotel in Cox’s Bazar.
“Bangladesh is one of the world’s new tiger economies, with strong GDP growth,” de Souza said. “With rising incomes, strong growth in domestic travel, and a shortage of internationally-branded hotels, we believe Bangladesh represents a major opportunity for a global company like Best Western.”