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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

ITC's maiden overseas hospitality foray nears completion, Colombo hotel to open on April 25

The 350-key property, named ITC Ratnadipa, and a luxury residential development called Sapphire Residencies sit on a 5.86-acre land, offering a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean and Beira Lake

Sambit Saha Calcutta Published 17.04.24, 12:05 PM
Sanjiv Puri in Calcutta on Tuesday.

Sanjiv Puri in Calcutta on Tuesday. Sourced by the Telegraph

ITC’s maiden overseas hospitality foray, which has been in the making for over a decade, is set to become a reality.

Conceived in 2012, the Colombo project of the company will become operational from April 25, putting behind multiple hurdles that delayed the Rs 2,775-crore luxury venture.

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The 350-key property, named ITC Ratnadipa, and a luxury residential development called Sapphire Residencies sit on a 5.86-acre land, offering a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean and Beira Lake. The mixed-use development is promoted by WelcomHotels Lanka (Private) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company.

“Our first property outside India is going to open in Colombo on the 25th of this month. It is an iconic property in Colombo,” Sanjiv Puri, chairman of ITC, said on Tuesday during an interaction with LSG in Calcutta.

The 30-storied hotel and 50-storied residence, joined by a skybridge 100 meters above ground, is touted to be an engineering feat. The project has been accorded the status of a ‘strategic development project’ entitling the company to various fiscal benefits in Sri Lanka. Further, it is also exempt from Sri Lankan foreign exchange regulations.

The mixed-use development project has endured many hardships over the years. “Project construction activity, which was running on schedule till Q3 of FY19, was adversely impacted due to disruptions in the aftermath of the terror incidents in 2019, recurrent waves of the Covid pandemic and after that by the challenging socio-economic and operating conditions prevailing in the country…” ITC said in the company’s annual report in 2023.

The launch of the project comes ahead of the proposed demerger of the hospitality business at the end of the year. While the Colombo project is going to be a property owned by the company, ITC has now pivoted to an ‘asset-right’ strategy which focuses on taking up assets on a management contract basis.

“We have opened 25 properties in the last 24 months and there is a huge pipeline of new properties, less of our own and more of management contracts. We will continue to focus on the asset-right model,” Puri told LSG members.

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