Bentota needs large three star hotel to woo mid spenders

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Bentota area needs more ‘mid-range’ large hotels to attract the local and foreign middle class tourists, said Chairman, Diyakawa Water Sports Centre, Aluthgama, D. K. Niroshan Fernando.

He said that the Bentota area is surrounded by four and five star hotels which have on average more than 75 rooms in each and are patronized mostly by the upmarket clientele and there is no single three star hotel. “If the middle class people do come they stay for one night due to the high price of the hotels. When this happens their stay is mostly confined to the hotel and they hardly do any excursions and other activities like water sports. If there are larger three star hotels, large groups will come, staying more days in their hotels and engaging in excursions and other activities like water sports which will give revenue to adventure sports suppliers like us.” He said on many occasions this was brought to the notice of the Ministry of Tourism but with no results. “We know SLTB do not build hotels but they can give out part of the large land that is available in Bentota and come to a joint venture to build a large three-star hotel.” He also said that a lot of water sports activities are there in Bentota but they are not being marketed both locally and internationally. “If this is done, people using the highway to go deep down south can visit Bentota and engage in watersports for a few hours and go back.”

Diyakawa Water Sports Centre, set up 20 years ago is one of the several water-sport centers that offers a wide array of activities in Bentota. “We are expanding into offering special ‘airborne adventure packages’ and need to import more equipment but the taxes, approvals process is time consuming and discourages us and we need Sri Lanka Tourism support in this regard to minimize red tape. We are also registered with Sri Lanka Tourist Board and pay their levies but have not received any guidance or support from them even during the C-19 pandemic time. Our service includes Jet ski to sofa rides, banana boat rides to tubes, canoeing to deep sea fishing, scuba diving or snorkeling, river cruise to speed boat cruise, surfing to water ski, wakeboard to windsurfing and so much more. We also provide accommodation and meals in our adjoining hotel overlooking the Bentota river and also have overnight packagers as well. The prices here at Diyakawa Water Sports Centre are affordable, the staff members are experienced and we also offer special packages to the corporate sector as well. Though many competitors do not have a comprehensive insurance scheme for foreign and local tourists engaged in adventure sports activities we offer insurance paying from our revenue.”

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