Japanese investors tell BOI optimistic about investment opportunities in Sri Lanka
Daily FT: The Granbell Hotel Colombo, a Board of Investment (BOI) approved $ 60 million worth of Japanese investment visible in the heart of Colombo, recently opened its doors welcoming all to experience a fusion of Japanese and Sri Lankan hospitality. The hotel is also another feature that depicts the traditional bond shared by the two countries, which goes beyond business.
In a situation where Sri Lanka has undergone major economic setbacks, the BOI, as the apex organisation for promoting foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka, has a mammoth role to play in the endeavour to sustain the faith of investors.
For that, the BOI goes an extra mile in a bid to create a favourable atmosphere for new investors so that more investments can be attracted. Against this backdrop, the positive intent and high confidence shown by the management of the Granbell Hotel towards the desire to invest in Sri Lanka, is indeed inspiring and uplifting.
BOI Director General Renuka M. Weerakone stated that “the BOI is currently growing in confidence amid challenges and the trust conveyed by the Japanese investors upon Sri Lankan management and workers with their unblemished record in the history, is a great encouragement as we move forward.”
“Furthermore, the smooth-running of the BOI is also evident with the number of new contracts signed in this month amounting to 13, inclusive of three major projects.”
“A $ 8 million investment by KSPA Embilipitiya Paper Mills Ltd., $ 1 million investment by Koggala Apparel Manufactures Ltd. and 4.5 million investment by One Apparels Corporation Ltd. are among the major contracts signed by the BOI recently. The 1 million-investment by Koggala Apparel Manufactures Ltd. and 4.5 million investment One Apparels Corporation Ltd. will generate 1,500 and 2,000 job opportunities for Sri Lankans respectively,” Weerakone explained.
“In addition, I am also confident that the newly opened Granbell Hotel would turn out to be a fabulous platform where new job opportunities are created for Sri Lankans, with over 60 Sri Lankans already employed in the hotel,” she said.
“The BOI is looking forward to working hand in hand with all relevant stakeholders to put things on track in order to further ensure that Sri Lanka becomes the preferred destination for investment in the region,” Weerakone stressed.
Welcoming Granbell as a remarkable investment undertaken by the Belluna Company Ltd., the BOI appreciated the management for selecting Sri Lanka, during its recent visit to the hotel where they also highly praised the support rendered by the BOI.
The hotel which is one of the properties owned and helmed by the Belluna Company Ltd., of Japan, runs parallel to the rustic railway line and steps away from Colpetty’s rail station on Marine Drive.
In a brief interview with the BOI team, Granbell Hotel General Manager Toshiyuki Hatanaka at the outset outlined the businesses that Belluna Co. Japan is into, where he said: “Belluna Co. Japan is a listed company on the Tokyo stock exchange and our core business is general mail-order and e-commerce. Belluna owns and operates more than 20 hotels globally, namely in Japan, Hawaii, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
“Besides, Belluna has invested in three projects in Sri Lanka; ‘Le Grand’ Hotel in Galle which opened in 2018, followed by ‘447 Luna Tower’ a luxury apartment project now ready for occupations, and ‘Granbell Hotel’ in Colombo which completed and opened successfully in May 2022.”
“In addition, when it comes to Sri Lankans, our CEO has decided to start a program to recruit and train talented Sri Lankans at Granbell hotels in Japan. Therefore, 10 hard-working Sri Lankans have already received that opportunity to travel and work at our hotels in Japan. Likewise, we wish to support Sri Lanka furthermore and other avenues as well.”
When asked as to why they chose Sri Lanka, Hatanaka said: “The main reason why our President and CEO Kiyoshi Yasuno selected Sri Lanka is because of the tourist attractions offered, and tourist arrivals which has gradually increased over the past few years and also due to the strong bond shared by the both countries for the past 70 years.”
Sri Lanka’s business potential continues to increase with foreign businesses/investors expressing interest in investing/engaging with the Sri Lankan economy. Despite facing an economic crisis due to the adverse impact of the global pandemic, several key economic sectors in the country continue to show signs of growth. Even amidst the pandemic the country’s manufacturing and exports sectors showed a growth momentum. Given Sri Lanka’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements and concessions enjoyed by the country, key economic sectors are showing an expansion. The country’s tourism industry is also witnessing a gradual growth with many international hospitality and leisure brands expressing interest in Sri Lanka. With Sri Lanka showing signs of growth and the business community showing confidence in the country, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in the economy.
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