Our History - Aitken Spence

Our History

Our History
History Snippet

A century and many-a-decade ago in the British Colony of Ceylon, a partnership was struck between Scottish merchants Thomas Clark and Patrick Gordon Spence, and a legacy was born.

Our History - 2019

  • Aitken Spence Travels welcomes over 200,000 inbound travellers to Sri Lanka, setting a new record and benchmark for the local industry, and winning the award for Best Inbound Tour Operator at the National Tourism Awards.

Our History - 2018

  • Heritance Aarah – the first off shore venture of premium flagship hospitality brand Heritance – commences construction in the Maldives.
  • Sri Lanka’s first ever waste-to-energy power plant – expected to contribute 10MW of energy to the national grid upon completion - commences construction in Sri Lanka.

Our History - 2016

  • The Group becomes the first Sri Lankan company to own a four star property in Oman, acquiring the 150 room Al Falaj Hotel located in the country’s port capital Muscat.

Our History - 2015

  • Turyaa Chennai – the first property owned in India by the Aitken Spence Group is launched as one of the finest 5-star Deluxe Hotels in the sub continent.

Our History - 2013

  • We expand our presence to the Fiji Islands, with Aitken Spence becoming the first international port management company to operate in Fiji and formalizing the first ever public private partnership overseas by a Sri Lankan company.

Our History - 2012

  • Aitken Spence Printing relocates to state-of-the-art 100,000 square foot complex situated in Mawaramandiya, Sri Lanka – South Asia’s first LEED (Gold) certified, carbon neutral printing complex.

Our History - 2008

  • The Aitken Spence Corporate office relocates to Aitken Spence Tower II – a luxurious commercial complex prominently located at the heart of Sri Lanka’s commercial capital Colombo.
  • Adaaran Prestige Vadoo – the Group’s fifth resort consisting of fifty luxury villas in close proximity to the Malé Atoll – is launched

Our History - 2007

  • Aitken Spence obtains the management of four hotel properties in Oman, becoming the first hospitality company to enter the Middle East.
  • The Group becomes
 the first Sri Lankan company to venture into Port Efficiency Management outside Sri Lanka.

Our History - 2005

  • The 100 MW thermal power plant located in Embilipitiya, Sri Lanka commences commercial operations.

Our History - 2002

  • Aitken Spence completes first thermal power plant generating 20 MW in Matara, following the Sri Lankan Government’s decision to request the private sector’s support in contributing to the national grid.

Our History - 1996

  • The Tea Factory – Sri Lanka’s first themed hotel commences operations in Nuwara Eliya. The hotel is awarded the Building Conservation award by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors London.

Our History - 1994

  • Heritance Kandalama – one of the world’s defining ecologically conscious hospitality constructions commences commercial operations in Sri Lanka. The hotel becomes the first Asian hotel to receive the prestigious Green Globe 21 certification.

Our History - 1993

  • Aitken Spence enters the lucrative Maldivian tourism sector with the acquisition of Bathala Island Resort, becoming the first Sri Lankan resort operator to venture into hotel operations overseas.

Our History - 1985

  • Aitken Spence Printing (Pvt) Ltd is incorporated, segregating the growing business that was earlier under Aitken Spence & Co.
  • Ace Containers (Pvt) Ltd is incorporated, taking over the inland container terminal at Mattakkuliya, Sri Lanka.

Our History - 1983

  • The Company shares were quoted for the first time in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), with an issued share capital of Rs. 51 million.

Our History - 1981

  • Triton Hotel – the first five star beach resort in Ahungalla commences operations. Triton is now rebranded as Heritance Ahungalla.

Our History - 1977

  • Aitken Spence Travels Ltd was incorporated as the Company moves into inbound and outbound travel.

Our History - 1974

  • Neptune Hotel - the first resort hotel of Aitken Spence was constructed in Beruwala designed by the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. Neptune is now rebranded as Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara.


  • The partnership of Edward Aitken and Patrick Gordon Spence, was further strengthened with the attachment of other British capitalists, who later converted the business to a Private Limited Liability Company.


  • Lloyds of London appoints Aitken Spence & Company as the agents for Ceylon - a position which the Company holds to this date.


  • Two brothers - Edward and S.R Aitken - join Thomas Clark and Patrick Gordon Spence, rebranding the partnership in Colombo to “Aitken Spence & Company”.


  • In Sri Lanka’s southern port city of Galle, Thomas Clark and Patrick Gordon Spence venture into a partnership as merchants and commission agents under the name “Clark & Spence”.