COLOMBO, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- India's Krrish group has signed a 450 million U.S. dollar property deal with the Sri Lankan government to develop a seven-star hotel and mixed development project in the heart of the capital, a top official said here on Friday.
The Indian company has leased the land for 99 years from the Sri Lankan government for 49 million U.S. dollars, said Deputy Economic Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene.
"There have been 152 foreign direct investment projects signed so far this year and we are confident that we will continue to attract proposals from international companies. We want to see Fortune 500 companies in Sri Lanka," Abeywardene told reporters.
His statement ends earlier speculation that the land was earmarked for China's aircraft manufacturer, China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), which was involved in a controversial land deal with the government previously.
Krrish Group is expected to construct a 30 floor seven-start hotel as well as luxury apartments and a mall on the four acre property in Fort, at Colombo's center.
Abeywardene also remarked that the ambitious project is to be completed in two years to help meet the significant demand created by the post-war tourism boom. It will employ 1900 people once opened.
"We are confident that we will beat the targeted 1 million tourists this year and move towards more foreign investments," he added.
During the first eight months of 2012 arrivals rose 15.8 percent to 622,661 with August numbers increasing 9.7 percent from a year earlier.
Since the end of a three decade war in 2009 Sri Lanka's tourism industry has boomed with international brands including Shangri-la, Sheraton, Hyatt and Sun City investing around 2 billion U.S. dollars in hotel projects.