- SLTDA says essential for SL to focus on environment to generate traffic
- Points out travellers have become increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint
- Sustainable destination effort to kick off with Sigiriya
- Mega campaign on sustainable tourism to be launched
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka’s struggling tourism sector is gearing up to tread on the sustainability and eco-friendly path to generate traffic, an effort taken up by the authorities to reposition the island nation as the pandemic eases.
With sustainability and eco-friendly tourism practices becoming increasingly popular across the world, as the effects of climate change can be very much felt, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) yesterday said measures have already been rolled out to allow the industry to reap benefits from this new focus.
“Sustainability is no longer even an option. Environment sustainability or sustainability in a border sense, is becoming absolutely necessary. Travellers are becoming more conscious even of their footprint and it is essential for destinations like Sri Lanka to focus on the environment,” said Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando while addressing a webinar yesterday that was themed on reviving tourism.
To steer the industry in that direction, Fernando shared that tourism projects would need to adopt green building concepts, which would be made mandatory from January 2022.
Sri Lanka has already commenced the initiatives to obtain accreditation from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), a certification that would affirm the nation’s compliance with universal criteria for sustainable tourism.
Fernando shared that the plans are afoot to ban all hotels across the island using single-use plastics since the country’s ban in this regard is not fully implemented.
The eco-friendly initiative will kick off with Sigiriya being transformed into a sustainable destination, making it the first-of-its-kind in the island nation. The tourism hotspot will be installed with solar panels and water fountains, amongst others, Fernando said.
“We are moving into sustainability technology and we are already implementing a shift towards delivering experiences that complement this new focus. Sri Lanka is ready for this,” shared Fernando.
Furthermore, Fernando shared that a mega campaign on embracing sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives was to be launched earlier this month. However, the X-Press Pearl incident, which has led to a major marine disaster, put the effort on hold.