DFCC funds breath taking ‘Heaven’s Edge’ Continues its commitment to the hotel sector
March 12, 2013
DFCC Bank, known for supporting unusual projects and innovative ideas of entrepreneurs with funding and guidance, has financed the newest boutique hotel in the country, the Heaven’s Edge. Perched on the pristine mountains of Ella, the 30 roomed luxurious hotel with all amenities including a swimming pool, is undergoing the final touches with a view to opening its doors in April this year.
Mr. Shanthi Fernando who is the founder and Managing Director of Heaven’s Edge also co-owns Country Comfort Inn located in Ella, with his wife Swarna. His beginnings were in the Ceylon Hotels Corporation from which he retired in 1996 to become an entrepreneur in what he was familiar with. His success with Country Comfort encouraged him to climb higher elevations. The single most beautiful feature of Heaven’s Edge is its location. Situated on the highest elevation of Ella, facing Ravana falls, the view covers a span of over 260 degrees. From this picturesque location you can also see the world famous Ella Gap, Tissa Lake, the Badulla – Colombo Rail track and a lot more beautiful scenery. It is truly heavenly!
Due to the sensitive nature of the industry Banks shy away from supporting entrepreneurs who want to profit from better days. This entrepreneur with big dreams also went though difficult times when the country went through a long drawn out war. Speaking on DFCC’s support towards this project Mr. Fernando said, “The journey was never easy but we received tremendous support from DFCC Bank which we appreciate very much even at a time when the country was going through a war and tourism was down. They believed in us, stood by us and were willing to support our venture, taking the risk and seeing more into the future. I think they can be proud of the results”.
The Manager, Aruna Dissanayake of the DFCC Badulla branch, which funded this project, said enthusiastically, “It is very satisfying to see an entrepreneur we have nurtured for many years going from strength to strength from practically nothing. We don’t believe in just giving loans, we stand by them through their journey and I must say that Heaven’s Edge took quite sometime to unfold. But the outcome is really stunning!”
Daring to Lead
The tourism industry, a very sensitive industry which swings with the country situation, is the world’s largest service industry and plays a critical role in a country’s economy. In Sri Lanka, during the last few years there has been tremendous development in this sector contributing total revenue of over USD one billion and creating an average of 5000 jobs every year.
DFCC Bank’s commitment to develop the hotel sector dates back to 1967 when it funded Pegasus Reef Hotel, the first five star hotel in Ceylon. It was truly one of the most significant pioneering efforts made by the Bank considering that the last big hotel in the country had been built in the 19th century.
The farsighted trailblazer Mrs. Edith Fernando who co-owned the hotel with her husband J L M Fernando, thought while she was sitting in the garden of the Sun ‘n Sand Hotel in Bombay, “If Juhu Beach could boast of this resort hotel packed with hundreds of locals and foreigners why not a similar hotel in Ceylon on one of our famous palm fringed private beaches?”. At the time tourism was in its infancy and the profitability of the hotel was by no means certain. However keeping to its mission of helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams, DFCC provided the start-up funds in the form of a loan and share investment to establish the Pegasus Reef.
In quick succession, DFCC assisted Ceylon Holiday Resorts Limited, the then owners of Bentota Beach Hotel and Coral Gardens Hikkaduwa and Ceylon Beach Hotels Limited, which came under the umbrella of the Confifi Group and in more recent times the Jetwing and Aitken Spence groups. DFCC became the pioneer financier of resort hotels and the tourism industry and continues to support the sector with funding and expertise.
Funding in Difficult Times
The work which began back then and the experience garnered in financing the hotel industry is now being extended to helping smaller entrepreneurs in the regions build specialist hotels. Through the DFCC branch network, the realization of many boutique hotels such as Heaven’s Edge has been made possible enriching economies in rural locations. Most of these hotels were being constructed through difficult times and DFCC has stood by them seeing the projects through to better times.
DFCC Bank ranks as one of the country’s top banks with sustained profits and consistent growth. Set up by an act of Parliament in 1955, the Bank has pioneered many innovations in Sri Lanka’s financial sector, and has been the financier of trail blazing Lankan entrepreneurs. Today the DFCC Group’s total asset base is LKR 136.4 billion. DFCC Bank and it almost wholly owned retail banking subsidiary DFCC Vardhana Bank together, functions as an effectively integrated entity in the financial services sector offering the full range of business and personal banking services seamlessly through a unified distribution channel.
Hotel Heaven’s Edge under construction