Sri Lanka’s tourism sector’s ties to Germany reinforce positive post-Covid impacts
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourism sector has partnered with Germany to improve environmentally friendly and more “sustainable” tourism, increasingly valued by international travelers, industry officials said.
Germany was among the top three or four source markets for tourism in Sri Lanka before the coronavirus pandemic.
“Consumers are increasingly demanding more sustainable destinations and hotels,” said CB Ramkumar, member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, an industry group at a launch event supported by the Friedrich Naumann Freedom Foundation in Sri Lanka and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka).
“And the pandemic has only strengthened that consumer’s resolve, and sustainability is becoming the post-pandemic tourism industry.”
“From an operational standpoint, sustainability lowers your operational costs, thus increasing your profitability. Sustainability therefore makes commercial sense.
“And no one can dispute it anymore. Because it’s an established model.
A commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was signed by HiranCooray, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Advisory Board, and officials from the Sri Lankan Association of Incoming Tour Operators (SLAITO), Hotel Association Sri Lanka (THASL), Sri Lanka Driver’s Guide. Association, Travel Agencies Association, Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guide Lecturers August 16.
The companies adhering to the program will develop the economic gains of tourism while reducing the undesirable impacts on the natural, historical, cultural or social environment.
Jetwing Symphony Plc, Chairman of HiranCooray, said Sri Lanka should become sustainable, but at the same time it needs to think about new marketing strategies to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.
“It’s a very difficult time we find ourselves in right now,” said Cooray, who is also chairman of the Sri Lanka-based Jetwing Leisure Group.
“It’s a time when you don’t know if you need oxygen to survive, or if you need to exercise and keep running. People don’t know exactly what to do.
“But I think this initiative is wonderful, you will have full commitment from Jetwing. We are ready to share everything we have learned over the past 30 or 35 years in this industry, through sustainability and my work with other international associations. “
Jetwing, which has an eco-vacation cell, has in the past supported researchers and also published books to popularize nature.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is working with Berlin-based think tank and advisory group Löning Responsible Business and Human Rights to speed up the process.
Members of the initiative will focus on fair working conditions, respect for communities and cultural heritage, health and safety, efficient use of resources and adaptation of infrastructure, conservation of ecosystems and stewardship and governance with self-assessment.
Go-Vacation, Aitken Spence Travels, Hayleys Travels, Hilton Colombo Residencies, Kite-Surfing Lanka, Anantara Hotels Lanka, The Thinnai Hotel, Fox-Resorts, Team Resorts and Spa, Wayfarer Travels and Eco-Living-Lanka have also signed pilot members .
Ramkumar said the Sri Lankan government should also adopt sustainability policies and protect the country’s natural resources.
“The government has to be very careful and protect and nurture their natural assets,” Ramkumar said.
“Sustainable tourism is the way to go. So I urge Sri Lankan government officials, we are ready to somehow help you get through this process, if you want to develop a standard yourself.
Sri Lanka, however, has several agencies responsible for the protection of natural resources and the environment, which also makes the construction of hotels or factories time-consuming.
“Our main objective at the moment in the framework of sustainable tourism is to prepare a national Sri Lankan tourism policy, currently we are doing it with the support of international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program”, said the secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, S Hettiarachchi.
“Once we have it prepared, before the end of this year, we hope to complete the first project with the support of all universities, accountants and other stakeholders”
Hettiarachchi said that after the policy is put in place, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority will strive to achieve global sustainable tourism certifications for more than 40 hotels in the country.
He said the certifications would target accommodation, destination and operators.
“We have selected nine destinations in nine provinces of the country to launch the program”,
SLTDA plans to open a new division in the department as a sustainability division.
“We have already asked UNDP and other international professional organizations to support us in the technical side of the process and to train our staff to move the program forward,” Hettiarachhci said. (Colombo / August18 / 2021)