Over 100 new hotels under construction

More than 100 hotels are currently under construction in various parts of the country which plan to open for business in the next two years. The biggest increase will be in the three- and four-star category hotels where the number of rooms will roughly double.The largest addition in room capacity (number of rooms) is in tourist hotels with 4,421, followed by boutique villas and hotels (441 rooms). The hectic pace at which hotels are being built is aimed at creating enough accommodation for the influx of tourists expected to visit the island.

Sri Lanka aims to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016. The number of visitors crossed the million mark last year. According to the Tourism Master Plan 2011-2016 of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, an estimated 45,000 hotel rooms will be required to cater to that figure, which is approximately three times existing capacity. The hotel industry is a huge consumer of water and energy and discharges different kinds of wet and dry waste and wastewater into the environment. A new report by the International Finance Corporation says the rapid increase in tourists and hotels will place a “huge strain” on resources, especially energy and water.

“(This) will create immense challenges in the efficient use of these resources as well as disposal of solid and water waste”.

hotel sustainability

Sri Lanka’s hotel industry needs to implement immediate measures that will use resources and recycle waste with greater efficiency. The IFC report lists a number of ways in which some hotels are already doing this and suggests most hotels can easily adopt these best practices.  These include energy management measures like using natural lighting as much as possible and occupancy sensors and timers to control lighting and ways to control solid waste like reducing use of plastic straws with cocktails or drinks and discontinuing plastic shopping bags.Water conservation measures include low and no investment measures like daily checks for leaks and preventive maintenance on planned schedules. Others that need some investment are water saving cisterns with dual flushes and press-top faucets in staff canteens to reduce wastage. The new hotels under construction will have to adopt resource efficient measures from the outset, the IFC notes. “As the hotel industry continues to grow rapidly, authorities need to encourage sustainability practices by recognizing and promoting hotels that implement energy saving and recycling measures in their operations,” it said.

“Experience shows that sustainability translates into profitability. Best practices are often subsequently rewarded.”

The IFC warned that it was important to ensure that Sri Lanka’s pristine environment does not suffer owing to the influx of tourists. According to SLTDA, 104 tourist hotels are under construction in 15 districts although most are concentrated in the districts of Galle,
Colombo, Batticaloa, and Kalutara.

Of these, 68 are tourist hotels, 15 boutique villas and hotels, 13 guesthouses, and eight resorts. Ten of the approved 68 new tourist hotels are five star hotels, mainly in the Colombo and greater Colombo areas. Of the rest, 30 are four star, 17 three star, 10 two star, and a one star hotel.

Of the approved eight new resorts, there’s one each in eight districts – Trincomalee, Puttalam, Matara, Matale, Kalutara, Galle, Batticaloa and Anuradapura.

Most of 15 new boutique hotels currently under construction are along the coast, especially in Galle, Gampha, and Matara districts.