Great golf bargains at luxury Sri Lanka south-coast spa hotel thanks to white elephant airport debacle


Sri Lanka’s Hambantota airport debacle—aka the Mattala Rajapaksa International fiasco—is providing a bargain silver lining for the world’s golf lovers.

The Shangri-La’s nearby luxury resort and golf and country club was built at great expense specifically to cater for the hundred of tourists who were expected to use the new airport.

But, as the South China Morning Post reports, that never happened, in part because heavy crosswinds, wandering elephants and peacocks being sucked into aircraft engines frightened off the airlines.


As a result, no passengers and thus no influx of visitors to enjoy the resort’s spectacular location, upscale facilities—and one of the world’s premier tropical golf courses.

With the 58-hectare, 300-room property—the largest resort in Sri Lanka—severely under-occupied and golfers staying away in droves, something had to be done.

Thus, says the Post: “If you don’t mind a four-hour drive or a seaplane flight down from the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, there are many deals on offer, including a ‘Stay & Play’ package that includes unlimited rounds of golf on one of the region’s best (and presumably emptiest) courses from US$200 per night.”


So a bargain in anyone’s language, particularly Chinese, since it was they who financed and built the airport on which the resort was founded.

Another silver lining, in fact, because golf is a rapidly growing pastime in China, and Chinese tourists are our biggest single visitor group and a mainstay of the tourism and hospitality industries.

With tourists in mind, the resort also offers a safari package to spot elephants—another irony, since some are regularly seen roaming around the empty airport.

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