IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on Wednesday announced an investment of $27 million in Sri Lanka’s Melwa Hotels and Resorts Private Limited. The financing will help Melwa Hotels, a subsidiary of Melwire Rolling Private Limited, develop three new hotels outside of Colombo, in Yala, Kosgoda, and Negombo.
The hotels will be operated by Hilton Hotels. Melwa Hotels and Hilton had last year signed an agreement for the development of six Hilton-branded – three Hilton and three Doubletree by Hilton — properties in Sri Lanka. The entire project is estimated to cost over $100 million.
The investment from IFC will improve tourism in Sri Lanka, create jobs, and generate more foreign exchange, the development institution said in a statement.
“In addition to the funding, Melwa will also benefit from IFC’s expertise and advice as we diversify into tourism,” said Melwa managing director PP Muruganandhan. “The access to global experts and sectoral knowledge and best practices will be key to ensure that we build hotels that are profitable, sustainable and contribute to the local economies where they are located.”
The project is in line with the Sri Lankan government’s goal to grow the tourism industry while minimizing potential negative environmental and social impacts, IFC noted in its statement.
“Investments in tourism lead to job creation, generation of revenues and foreign exchange and strengthens local suppliers,” said Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “IFC will also provide advice to Melwa Hotels on how to manage environmental and biodiversity matters to minimize their environmental footprint.”
Sri Lanka is a priority country for IFC. Its committed portfolio in the country covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and healthcare.