In an exciting development for the region and Sri Lanka, Royal Asian Cruises has signed an agreement with the Board of Investment to launch a luxury cruise line. The cruise line will cater to the global leisure travel markets with special emphasis on the Indian and Sri Lankan diaspora and the European and Southeast Asian markets.
Royal Asian Cruises [RAC], which currently has offices in the US and in India, will invest US$ 200 million over the years in the Sri Lankan venture. It will also acquire and operate two vessels over the course of 2016. The first, state-of-the-art, modern cruise ships to be Home Ported in Sri Lanka will be an 800-passenger vessel and is scheduled to set sail in late 2015 from the Port of Colombo. Royal Asian Cruises also plans to invest in a larger second vessel which will be able to comfortably accommodate 1,500 – 2,000 passengers, which should enter service in early 2016.
“As a Sri Lankan, I am really proud to be back in my homeland, and investing in a large-scale project of this nature. It gives me pleasure in knowing that Sri Lanka is now a safe country, conducive for investment and business opportunities,” stated Chairman/Managing Director, Royal Asian Cruises Mano Sinnarajah.
Speaking further, Sinnarajah stated, “This venture will have many direct and indirect benefits on the Sri Lankan economy, starting from the provisioning services from local businesses the cruise vessel will require in operating from Sri Lanka to the natural shopping and spending capability of the passengers and crew that will arrive on a weekly basis.”
Using Sri Lanka as its home port, the cruise line will have year-round cruises and will call on ports such as Maldives and Cochin on seven-night cruises. They also plan to offer shorter (3- & 4-night) cruises around Sri Lanka and longer cruises (10- &11-nights) all the way to Singapore and back.
Royal Asian Cruises is also expected to create a significant number of employment opportunities for Sri Lankans and their five-year plan is to expand to a fleet of five ships representing a total investment of 720 million US Dollars.