SRI LANKA STORY
"... Ecotourism is often seen by poor communities as one of the few alternative livelihoods which are open to them. Communities, whose people are living in abject poverty invariably, find their young people migrate to urban centers, because of the decline in traditional industries such as agriculture, fishing, handicrafts etc. Ecotourism can prevent this 'urban drift' and provide an essential alternative income to the communities living in tourism generating areas in rural Sri Lanka. Ecotourism could act as a catalyst to mitigate the community setbacks and to assure economic justification to the communities living around the protected areas, cultural sites and the other tourism generating areas in general. In the Asia-Pacific Region, Ecotourism is presently seen as one of the most lucrative niche markets in the tourism industry, as 'Ecotourists' are higher spenders than 'Ordinary Mass Tourists'. High spending, nature-loving, responsible tourists are undoubtedly an attractive option for the governments looking for ways of earning scarce foreign exchange through tourism..."
"…… the pioneer national ecotourism organization in Sri Lanka
CEI/OVERSEAS is a consortium of Italian INGO's working in sustainable organic agriculture and community based tourism sectors in Sri Lanka. ICEI and OVERSEAS have been actively involved in livelihood development of the rural communities in Eastern and Central Provinces of Sri Lanka since 2005. ICEI/OVERSEAS promotes sustainable agricultural practices and agribusiness which preserve environment and ensure economic benefits to the rural communities. The consortium promotes community based tourism as a tool; to enhance the eco-friendly farming practices through value addition, and to diversify the livelihood opportunities of the communities.