5th Annual Sri Lanka Tourism Awards -2011
Sri Lanka Tourism Awards - 2011 was held on 30th August 2012, at the Waters Edge – Battramulla, Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) was awarded as the 'Best Initiative for Ecotourism Research, Training and Education in Sri Lanka' and 'Best Model Community Based Tourism Project in Sri Lanka' to; Walawa Nadee Ecotourism Organization, Ambalantota, (Nominated and supported by Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation(SLEF)
Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2011 pays tribute to organizations and individuals for their excellence and inspired achievements whilst contributing towards the strengthening and empowering of our nation's tourism industry. This annual event, held for the 5th consecutive year under the aegis of Sri Lanka Tourism provides an unenviable platform for industry recognition. These accolades also present an opportunity for tourism operators to reinforce their commitment in perpetuating visitor experience and celebrate their success in an evolving business environment. An objective of this year's Awards is to recognize and reward excellence in the travel and tourism industry, thus promoting and enhancing the delivery of service standards.
'Formal Recognition of Excellence in Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka'
These important awards would certainly contribute Sri Lanka Tourism in positioning Sri Lanka as an Ecotourism Destination in the Asia-Pacific Region. At the same time, these achievements would certainly help SLEF to extend further support the poor communities living around the tourism generating areas of Sri Lanka in sharing the tourism income
SLEF has been actively contributing to the development of ecotourism in Sri Lanka for last 14 years. Palitha Gurusinghe is the founder President of Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF), the pioneer 'National Ecotourism Society of Sri Lanka' that was established in 1998. During past fourteen years SLEF pioneered in promoting Community Based Ecotourism in Sri Lanka and worked hand in hand with other like-minded organizations in Sri Lanka, South and South East Asia, Asia-Pacific Region, in promoting Community Based Tourism Projects and poverty alleviation programmes through tourism. SLEF has also introduced the Concepts of 'Community Ecolodges' and 'Community Camping' to Sri Lanka Tourism. These programmes were initiated to promote community tourism and uplifting of the life-styles of the poor communities in tourism generating areas in Sri Lanka. Community Camping and Community Ecolodges are the vital tools to ensure tangible alternative income to the communities through tourism.
The Concepts developed and the activities initiated and implemented in Ecotourism by SLEF would go a long way in supporting Sri Lanka tourism, because, Ecotourists are higher spenders than 'ordinary' mass tourists. High spending, nature-loving, responsible tourists are undoubtedly an attractive option for governments looking for ways of earning foreign exchange through tourism. SLEF is dedicated for the cause of poverty alleviation through ecotourism in Sri Lanka, because, Ecotourism is often seen by the poor communities as one of the few alternative livelihoods which are open to them. Communities, whose people are living in poverty, invariably find their young people migrating to urban centers, because of the decline in traditional industries such as agriculture and fishing. Ecotourism can prevent this urban drift and provide them with an essential alternative income. Ecotourism could act as a catalyst to mitigate the community setbacks and to assure economic justification to the communities living around protected and natural areas.
Over the past years and to the date, SLEF has been dedicated to promote Community Based Ecotourism Enterprises (CBEs)
wuch as Walaw Nadee Ecotourism Organization, in various areas in Sri Lanka to ensure the community gets a tangible
share of tourism income, alleviating poverty in tourism generating areas and thereby encouraging the community to
support environmental and biodiversity conservation.
During past years SLEF has pioneered in popularizing Ecotourism Education, Training and Researches among the Community, Travel Agents, Tourism Marketing/Planning Executives and decision makers, Adventure and Nature based Tour Operators, University Students, teachers, Researchers, Practicing National Tourist Guide Lecturers, Hotels, Guest Houses, Restaurants, Ecolodge owners and Camping Operators, Travel Journalists in Electronic and Print media.
SLEF has just completed an Ecotourism Business Development Certificate Programme (EBD) which was started in June, 2012. ( see more info at
SLEF is of the view that ecotourism education and related training and research programmes have been considered as the most important as far as future development of ecotourism is concerned. Education of tourism industry operators, their customers and the wider community is an essential but often overlooked component of sustainable tourism. In the race to develop new tourism products and services in natural areas, it is often marketing infrastructure and management that receives priority and the development of educational programmes is an afterthought. The potential to use the vastly expanding knowledge that we have with regard to natural and human system in the educational programmes for ecotourism is not only important but essential to long term sustainability. Any attempt to implement sustainable practices that do not incorporate educational programmes will be self defeating. Future generations of ecotourists will need to be aware of environmental considerations not only when holidaying but also in the daily lives.
SLEF has conducted diverse Ecotourism Training, Research & Educational Programmes focusing :
• To create an awareness on sustainable tourism and environmental and biodiversity conservation among the tourists and the community,
• Research programs conducted to popularize eco tourism in Sri Lanka
• Supported many who are interested in widening their horizons in ecotourism
• Help Universities, other Institutions and individuals who are conducting Research and Training Programmes in Ecotourism, bringing together the tourism industry segments, academia and general public in Sri Lanka who are interested in ecotourism with a view to provide latest information on new trends of ecotourism worldwide, environmental and biodiversity conservation through the development of ecotourism , how to ensure economic and social benefits to the communities through tourism, to educate the travel industry members in developing and marketing of Ecotourism Products on a sustainable manner, training of interpreters and guides, offer cost effective green certification, eco-labeling, accreditation programmes etc. This sort of programmes would certainly help in strengthening of the ecotourism and sustainable tourism fabric in Sri Lanka
Further information :