Sim Leisure Group Ltd. (“Sim Leisure” or the “Company“, together with its subsidiaries, the “Group“), a theme park developer and operator based in Penang, Malaysia, announced today the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding (“MOU“) with Sri Lankan listed Elpitiya Plantations PLC which will bring its ESCAPE theme parks to Sri Lanka. Elpitiya Plantations PLC (“Elpitiya“) is an associated company of Sri Lankan listed blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC.
Pursuant to the MOU, Elpitiya will sublease land for the project while the Group will develop and operate theme parks under its ESCAPE brand (“ESCAPE Sri Lanka“). In order to develop ESCAPE Sri Lanka, Elpitiya has incorporated a special purpose company under the name of Venture Valley Private Limited (“Venture Valley“). Elpitiya intends to enter into a sublease agreement with Venture Valley for the sublease of a piece of land in Sri Lanka for the exclusive purpose of developing and operating ESCAPE Sri Lanka. Having been granted preliminary approval to commence construction and barring unforeseen circumstances, the Group aims to commence construction of ESCAPE Sri Lanka in March 2020. Both parties also expect the signing of the definitive agreement in relation to ESCAPE Sri Lanka later this month, which includes the entry of a strategic joint venture partnership whereby Sim Leisure and Elpitiya (or its nominee) are the proposed joint venture partners of Venture Valley. The Company will make the necessary announcements in due course.
ESCAPE Sri Lanka will be located halfway between Colombo city and the main beach resort of Galle (a city on the Southwest coast of Sri Lanka) against the backdrop of a booming tourist industry. Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry is aiming to attract four million tourists in 2020 and revenue of five billion U.S. dollars from the industry to spearhead an overall economic revival of the country. This will amount to doubling the arrivals, as the island-nation had received 1.91 million tourists in 2019.
Speaking on Sim Leisure’s expansion into Sri Lanka, Mr Sim Choo Kheng, CEO of Sim Leisure said, “I see tremendous opportunity in the Sri Lankan market with its population of over 20 million. Sri Lanka is one of few countries which is unspoilt and green. The country’s unpolluted coastline and beaches bring tourists from all over the world and its tourism industry is growing at an incredible pace. Furthermore, the cost of doing business in Sri Lanka is relatively low.
We will have the first-mover advantage of building the first world-class attraction in Sri Lanka. Unlike many parts of East Asia, Sri Lanka has tremendous untapped potential for family leisure and a highly-educated population hungry for success. We see this as a great opportunity to train the local population in our operations for future global expansion. We will be generating smiles per hour never seen before in Sri Lanka.” (PRNewswire)