Colombo to be transformed to upmarket shopping destination
The Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) intends to transform Colombo into anupmarket shopping destination with international brands occupying retail space within major development projects and historic buildings.
Sri Lanka’s Minister of Tourism Development, John Amaratunga revealed that in the coming three years a designated area surrounding Galle Face and Colombo Fort will house reputed shopping malls enabling the country to draw in serious shoppers from all over the world.
“The historic buildings in Colombo Fort will be converted into a shopping area that will also include hotels. The Whiteaways building is one of them, while many are in the pipeline. In the Galle Face area Shangri-La will have a similar facility and then there will be the Port City. All these augur well for Sri Lanka to become a new shopping destination in the Indian Ocean,” he added.
Amaratunga added that despite the availability of global bands at competitive prices, the fact that the country’s shopping malls are dispersed instead of being conveniently located together has prevented Sri Lanka from fully maximising on becoming a global shopping destination.
“Now the Government is seriously considering putting the shopping malls together in Colombo. In two years the tourists who occupy five-star hotels will be able to walk down on a street and do their shopping in one go. Decide shopping; Sri Lanka is the best destination in South Asia,” he stated.
According to the Chairman of Sri Lanka Retailer’s Association (SLRA), Hussain Sadique, a square area of 1.5 million including 9 large shopping malls, will be accessible within Colombo.
“Overall we feel ready to become a shopping destination in the region. The Government’s thinking is right. The infrastructure is coming up, Sri Lanka Tourism has strategic plan and it is now about execution. I am hopeful we will be in a better position within the next three years,” Sadique stated.
Sadique added that Sri Lanka’s retail industry was presently increasing at approximately 20%, citing the GoSL’s plans as a stepping stone for establishing the country as an internationally renowned retail destination.
The GoSL’s emphasis on large malls will provide opportunities for enterprising investors to consider expanding into such projects.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/03102017/Z_7|