Chairman of Wattura Resort Mr. Amit Dhar
Sri Lanka is an all in one tourism destination with multiple selections for travelers but is definitely under-marketed, said Chairman, Wattura Resort and Spa in Waikkal, Amit Dhar. He said that the huge amount of negative publicity that was created during the Youth Uprising (Aragalaya) time last year depicted the nation as a country with a lot of violence. In addition, international media also painted a picture that Sri Lanka lacks basic essentials such as food and medicine and the country is in chaos.
“But one year from the ‘Aragalaya’ Sri Lanka has totally transformed as a peaceful and prosperous nation and bounced back faster than expected. However, this positive sentiment is yet to be successfully driven to the minds of tourists as the first question they ask is ‘Sri Lanka safe. We have observed that the Ministry of Tourism Sri Lanka is doing some kind of damage control but this is not enough and it has to be more aggressive to woo the high end Indian tourism clientele to Sri Lanka.”
He also said that it is a very good move to allow Indian rupee to be used in Sri Lanka as a legal currency as this will be a major promoter of tourism. The Visa on arrival and also increasing air connectivity too makes Sri Lanka a good destination for Indian travellers but promotions are needed. Asked why he invested over Rs. three billion in The Wattura Resort and Spa in Waikkal, Lanka’s first family-friendly luxury wellness retreat which was opened in 2019 he said while he was on holiday he fell in love with Sri Lanka.
“Some of his friends in Sri Lanka showed him the land in Waikkal, facing the Indian Ocean on one side and the Gin Oya on the other and I brought 8 acres and built the hotel when Sri Lanka was going through a bad period with 27 room including Suites with a total of 15 swimming pools. I was confident of the destination and it proved right as we have clientele from all over the world and we sold some of our room suites starting from USD 330 and going over USD 1,200.”
While having investments in India and UAE, he said that he created Wattura Resort and Spa in Waikkal to offer a quiet holiday for luxury travelers with the sound of water everywhere and offer the best water sports facilities for children in a separate area in the same premises with unmatched options for kinds and the family. He said their investment was totally funded within the group and hence that during the C-19 pandemic the hotel was closed, but they did not resort to any cost cutting measures and staff welfare was not compromised as they did not have debt servicing. The hotel is owned and operated by Casa De Hotels and Resorts Group based in the UAE and operated under a BOI project. Casa Hotels is also investing in an island resort in Kerala and operates luxury boutique hotels in Kochi (India) and Palawan Island in the Philippines.
Caption: Chairman of Wattura Resort and Spa Mr. Amit Dhar.