Addressing the key media personal and tourism promoters in Sri Lanka at a recent function held at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development and Minister in-charge of Sri Lanka Tourism, remarked ‘Sri Lanka needs a tourism fabric which is suitable for Sri Lanka and not to borrow from any other foreign sources and adapt as it is. In this endeavourer, Sri Lanka should develop tourism on a sustainable manner and respecting the sustainable concepts. Rather than targeting a ‘head count’ to increase tourist traffic to the country and trying to build big hotels, Sri Lanka Tourism should develop people friendly tourism fabric which is in par with ‘Mahinda Chintanaya’. In his address he further went on to say ‘the ideal solution to meet the challenge of accommodation facilities for tourism is to develop home stays and people-friendly, nature friendly tourist accommodation.
Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF), the pioneer national ecotourism organization in Sri Lanka, has recently launched a novel ‘Ecolodge Project’ to meet the challenges faced by Sri Lanka Tourism.
According to Palitha Gurusinghe, the President of SLEF, it has developed an ecolodge concept which is eco friendly, nature and environment friendly and people friendly. SLEF is of the view that the term ‘Ecolodge’ defined under the principles of ecotourism is often being abused most by the nature based accommodation developers in Sri Lanka. Any accommodation facility built within the star class hotel premises or adjoining land areas, pristine nature locations, using traditional construction materials such as wattle and daub, bamboos and thatched with coconut kadjan or illuk, just cannot be called an ‘Ecolodge.