by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | July 17, 2018
Hotel development in Sri Lanka continues to heat up. This week, InterContinental Hotels Group said it had signed a management contract with Pearl Grand Tower Hotel to bring its flagship InterContinental brand to Colombo, the country's capital city. 

"We are excited to introduce our global luxury brand InterContinental Hotels and Resorts to the beautiful island country, Sri Lanka, in partnership with the esteemed Pearl Grand Tower Hotel Limited," said Sudeep Jain, IHG's vice president of development for southwest Asia, who added that the move was in line with the company's strategy to grow its footprint across southwest Asia by adding the InterContinental brand in key cities and resort destinations in the region.

The signing of the 42-story, 307-room InterContinental Colombo, which will open in 2019 with 12,000 square feet of meeting space and six dining options, comes on the heels of the opening of IHG's 1,000th hotel in the Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa region, the 459-room InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort in Vietnam. 

The island nation has seen a jump in tourism since its civil war ended in 2009. According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, in the first six months of 2018, more than 1.1 million tourists had visited Sri Lanka, a 15.3 percent growth over the same period last year. The SLTDA has said it aims to attract 4 million tourist a year by 2020.

With the uptick in tourism, other big-name hotel companies are also planting flags in Sri Lanka. In July 2017, Hilton Worldwide said it had signed six new management deals in Sri Lanka; three Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties and three DoubleTree by Hilton hotels. The company already manages the 339-room Hilton Colombo, which is connected by walkway to the capital city's World Trade Centre. The six new hotels will start welcoming guests between 2020 and 2021, and will mark the debut of the DoubleTree by Hilton brand in the country. Marriott International opened its first property in Sri Lanka in October 2017, the 200-room Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa, but has not announced any further development plans for the country.

The capital of Colombo is seeing a fresh new supply of branded hotels. In February 2017, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts opened its first property in the country, the 219-room Mövenpick Hotel Colombo. Several months later, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts opened its second property in Sri Lanka, the 500-room Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, its first in the city.