Launch and the Inaugural Workshop of National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) Programme
The Workshop on first ever National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises Tourism and Community Based Tourism Enterprises has been launched on the 27th April, 2015, at the Auditorium of the National Library Services Board, Colombo, 07, Sri Lanka.
The NSTC Programme has jointly been developed by Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF), Small and Medium Enterprises Network of Tourism Sri Lanka (SMENTS), Graduate School of Engineering, Kyushu University, Japan and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia.
A good cross section of stakeholders representing following SMEs and CBT tourism sectors in Sri Lanka has actively participated in the event. * Hotels and Guest Houses * Home Stay Operators * Ecolodge Operators * Companies and Individuals who are operating Camping and Adventure Tourism Activities* Restaurants * Travel Agents and Tour Operators -DMCs and Internet Based Travel Companies * Community Based Ecotourism Enterprises from all parts of Sri Lanka * Spice and Herbal Gardens, Indigenous Ayurvedic & Herbal Centers * Agrotourism and Farm Based Accommodation providers * Tourist Guide Lecturers (National, Chauffer, Site and Area) * Heritage Houses and Plantation Bungalows * Landscape and Green Building Architects were among the participants.
Mr. Paddy Withana, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and Mr.
Malraj Kiriella, Director General, SLTDA, represented Sri Lanka Tourism at the event. Mr
Yukihiro Misawa, represented Kyushu University, Japan and the Queensland University of
Technology (QUT), Australia. Dr. Iraj Ratnayake and Dr. Sampath Wahala from Department of
Tourism Management, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, provided academic
perspectives of the Certification process.
The Chairman, SLTDA, delivering his presentation remarked; "I am very happy to be present here today, and to associate with the Workshop Programme and launching of the first ever Certification Project in Sri Lanka, specially designed to benefit Community Based Tourism Projects (CBEs) and Small and Medium Tourism Entrepreneurs (SMEs)"
" Certification is a way of ensuring that an activity or a product meets certain standards. It is important to develop and conduct a cost-effective Certification Programme for Small and Medium Tourism Entrepreneurs and Community Based Tourism operators in Sri Lanka, enabling them to offer high quality tourism products and services to the national and international tourism markets in a more sustainable manner. Securing of 'Certification' will help the SME and CBT Tourism sectors to attract high-end, up-market tourists to Sri Lanka and maintain the quality of their businesses"
Mr. Malraj Kiriella, Director General, SLTDA, enlightened the participants on the importance of Certifications and its benefits to the SMEs and CBTs. He requested SLEF and SMENTS to forward a comprehensive Proposal on the methodology and related logistics enabling the SLTDA to provide required assistance to make the project a success.
Hon. Navin Dissanayake, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Sri Lanka, sending a Message to the launch remarked; "It gives me a great pleasure to send this Message on the occasion of launching the first ever National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) Programme initiated and developed by Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) and Small and Medium Enterprises Network of Tourism Sri Lanka (SMENTS) for the Small and Medium Tourism Entrepreneurs (SMEs) and for the Community Based Tourism Enterprises (CBEs) in Sri Lanka."
"The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has identified Tourism capable of effectively driving the country's socio-economic development. The Development Policy Framework of the Government of Sri Lanka aims at positioning Sri Lanka as a 'model tourist destination' benefiting from the country's natural advantages of having the highest bio diversity in Asia backed by a strong culture, historical artifacts, exotic beaches, green environment and friendly people all of which are solid building blocks for tourism development. In the light of ever increasing tourist traffic to Sri Lanka, tourism stake holders have to ensure to provide quality product and services to the visitors to Sri Lanka. Many in the industry are of the view that, a quality product and service is a key factor to attract high-end responsible tourists to Sri Lanka. Here, the Small and Medium Scale Tourism Sector (SMEs) and Community Based Ecotourism Entrepreneurs (CBEs) could play a major role. Certifying the SMEs and CBEs for their quality products and services could be a value added service to improve their businesses in a sustainable manner and to attract high-end responsible tourists to Sri Lanka"
"Going through the Workshop Brochure, I understand that the proposed Certificate Programme will provide guidelines on 'maintaining and improving the quality hospitality skills standards for the SMEs and CBEs who wish to offer their tourism products and services to the responsible tourists. The programme also provides a solid knowledge base to SMEs and CBEs on environmental and biodiversity conservation, development of hospitality skills and leadership, marketing, Public Relations and related activities. I am of the view that, this is a very good programme to improve the quality of tourism products and services offered by the Small and Medium Tourism Sector and the Community Based Tourism Business operators"
Those SMEs and CBTs in Sri Lanka Tourism who wish to enroll in the National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) Programme could get more information from:
Palitha Gurusinghe, President, Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF):
Mobile: 0777 631334 OR Lalith Rajapakshe,
President, Small and Medium Enterprises Network of Tourism Sri Lanka (SMENTS),
Email;firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile; 0773476179.