Sustainable Travel Policy and Responsible Tourism approach in Sri Lanka
Off the Beaten
100% locally owned
100% Tailor made
Tourism industry is valued at over USD 1.1 trillion worldwide. 10.4% of the global GDP is generated by tourism. It brings in significant monetary benefits which are used for economic development and social upgrading of the countries. Tourism is responsible for 7% of the total world exports.
It is thus not a surprise how important tourism industry is to every country. Everyone welcomes tourism and travellers. However, a growing recognition is apparent among the public about the role it plays on a country, its environment, and people.
Despite the opportunities and benefits it creates, the effect it has on the environment and lives of people is significant. It is the responsibility of all parties relevant to consider these effects and ensure the relationship has a positive reinforcement. This is the emergence of sustainable travel or responsible travel.
Sustainable travel/ responsible travel is defined as the practice of conducting any and all tourism activities in a manner that they meet the present needs of the parties, while protecting and enhancing the opportunities of future travel and tourism. It is envisioned as a principal to manage all the resources in a way that social, economic, and aesthetic needs are fulfilled, at the same time ensuring ecological processes, cultural integrity, biological diversity, and livelihoods of people are secured today and tomorrow.
Responsible travel also known as sustainable travel in Sri Lanka is designed to make better places to visit and improved places for people to live in. Its stakeholders include the governments, tour operators, hoteliers, locals and, of course, the travelers. Each one of these parties is required to take responsibility to be innovative, alter practices, and reinvent tourism to make it more sustainable.
Some major factors that are included in sustainable travel/ responsible travel are, conservation of natural and cultural life, safe tourism with an understanding of the local culture, minimising impact on the environment by initiatives such as reducing the carbon footprint, reducing the impact on locals and wildlife as well as negative economic impact on the destination, and ensure equality and respect to the locals in involving them in making important decisions.
As an experienced destination management company in Sri Lanka, we pay special attention to all these factors, during planning and executing our travels to ensure our commitment to operate as a sustainable, responsible travel company in Sri Lanka.
1 Responsible Travel
Sri Lanka is a unique destination. Many key visiting places are situated away from urban areas. It is the responsibility of all parties concerned to refrain from any harmful practices in these rural regions. This is sustainability of tourism; every traveler must be made aware of responsible travel and its positive effects. Every stakeholder – travellers, tour agencies, destination management companies (DMC), airlines, hoteliers etc. – are requested to do their part. Travellers and hosts should learn to respect each other, be responsible enough to accept the consequences of each other’s actions and maintain the sanctity of responsible travel in Sri Lanka.
International traveler arrivals have grown by 1.32 billion in 2017. It is expected the number will surpass 2 billion after 2030. Global tourism industry is responsible for 11% of the total world employment both direct and indirectly. What these statistics signify is that there is an enormous potential in travel. It is executed by various ways and means and uses a lot of resources. Its impact is felt on wildlife and habitats, water, and climate and atmosphere to name a few.
Environment, wild life and locals are key when it comes to responsible travel or sustainable travel. Each traveler abiding by these sustainable travel principles will ensure positive results for the premise of responsible travel. Economic gains will follow naturally if the environment and people are kept safe and treated sustainably.
It is at times inevitable that topics such as littering, sea and land pollution, animal abuse etc. gaining centre-stage in relation to tourism. If the service providers consider just the profits it will lead to irreversible situations which harms the sustainable travel premise.
Only through the main stakeholders owning up to the responsibility of advising travellers and warn those who do not abide by the unwritten rules can responsible travel in Sri Lanka could be ensured.
We at Best of Lanka as responsible Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka, practice and participate Sustainable Tourism by practicing the following responsible tourism initiatives,
Experiences hosted by locals
Responsible travel does not simply revolve around alleviating environmental pollution and preventing waste of resources. For any matter to be sustainable, weak links must be made strong so they can survive the difficulties of trade. Following this policy, we use local hosts - authentic village people – to deliver experiences of interest to you. This initiative assists with a traveler from a foreign land understanding the “ways of doing things” in Sri Lanka. It also helps the locals live better by what they stand to gain by being a part of the trade.
For e.g. in your trip to Sri Lanka, if you accompany us to Galle, you will stand a chance to see how cinnamon is grown and prepared to be sold in the market. Farmers work hard to produce genuine merchandise which is of high standard. You can also purchase their products thereby extending a helping hand with their livelihood. Activities as such benefit the local farmers to keep faith in responsible /sustainable travel in Sri Lanka to nurture their lives in more ways than one.
Village based guides
Who knows the land better than those who actually live there! We have chosen to hire village-based guides to help you with your travels in line with the sustainable travel goals.
Locals stand a chance to earn a buck and you are exposed to more than simply a journey from A to B. They have been living in that area for so long, they are acutely aware of the special spots, safe and no-go areas. Most of all the locals are familiar with the whimsical folk tales related to your visit and have experienced excavations, placing them in a better situation to provide you with true and accurate account of the location. They are an important part of the sustainable travel equation.
There is a lot they can tell you and we ensure you are comfortable in communicating with them. Most of our local guides in Sri Lanka have obtained a good education and are up to explaining scientific bases of some occurrences as well as historical accounts. Their company will give you a different experience than being escorted by a “professional guide” who would prefer to impart only the relevant bits of knowledge. Village-based guides thus ensure the responsible travel in Sri Lanka.
Home Stays to support the community
Home stay is a popular tourist strategy in this day and age. Many travelers prefer to spend a night in an authentic house of a local and observe how the day-to-day activities are carried out. In Sri Lanka, you have the opportunity of experiencing several ethnicities and their unique ways of living; the up-country Sinhalese cook in one-way; Northern Tamils use varied methods and ingredients, down south folks talk and work in an entirely different manner. You will get an opportunity enjoy authentic Sri Lankan hospitality and make genuine connections with them. Home stays have a special significance in the sustainable travel/ responsible travel in Sri Lanka.
It is a small wonder that this island of just 65,000+km2 is home to so many varied rites and rituals of different ethnicities. With Best of Lanka, you gain a unique opportunity to spend a night or two with a local family; thus, you stand to not only gain an understanding of the true nature of the local people but also support them with an alternative income source which is a significant assistance for most of them. As a responsible destination management organistion, Best of Lanka to wishes to assist these local families in any possible way, while making your visit interesting and knowledgeable.
The home-stay community of Sri Lanka has seen an increase in the past few years and travelers seem to enjoy it as well. It is a strong step taken towards bringing forth a true culture of sustainable travel/ responsible travel in Sri Lanka.
No animal exploitation
Animal exploitation has become a most-talked-about topic due to the unbearable level of abuse happening around the world. From the killing-for-sport in Africa to chained animals in Thai Zoos and elephant back rides in Sri Lanka, animal abuse have been criticised greatly. Strong players in global tourism had earned close to 1.5 billion USD through their websites by selling animal excursions alone, but has now closed that path due to disapproval. It is one of the many great results of executing responsible and sustainable travel in Sri Lanka. It is certainly not incorporated in sustainable travel/ responsible travel.
As a responsible travel company, Best of Lanka has always chosen to avoid disapproved methods of tourism. True responsible travel is not harming any animal or their habitats. Facilitating visits to places where animal abuse takes place is encouraging that behaviour. We have always refrained from taking you on elephant back rides or visiting turtle farms.
It doesn’t have to be harmful behaviour to animals for travelers to enjoy their visits. Ethical/ responsible travel and sustainable travel and tourism is observing these fantastic beasts in their natural enclosures, giving them space to live their own lives. As a traveller, it is your responsibility to use a service provider in Sri Lanka who cares and works hard to protect the animal rights.
Being the responsible travel company we are, Best of Lanka always chooses to facilitate observing animals in their own spaces in the wild. It speaks volumes with regards to true responsible travel in Sri Lanka.
Use of small hotels with a character
Most luxury hotels are part of multinational chains and are easily reserved via many ways. However, we choose to show you another façade of accommodation; instead of trudging you along to from one expensive, luxury hotel to another, we let you enjoy the finer things in life with smaller, yet comfortable and unique hotels in Sri Lanka, owned by locals.
Some of these are real gems and cannot be located in the internet easily. They are cottages turned to small guest houses, or an old estate bungalow converted into a hotel. Either way, with a limited number of rooms and exclusive spots, these small hotels will provide you special attention and personalised service for a fraction of the cost. They are accommodation with a character which can give you a genuine Sri Lankan feeling.
Another reason why we favour these hidden gems is the sustainable travel principles and our policy of strengthening the disadvantaged. The small holders are open for business but they are unable to spend big bucks in advertising. Therefore, we will bring you to them, as a gesture of promoting their income and upholding sustainable travel in Sri Lanka.
Eat local food, dine in local restaurants
Any traveler wishes to taste the local food and enjoy the local cuisine. Sri Lanka is known for a unique food platter and there are foodies who visit the island with the sole objective of tasting our food. We bring you to the best local hotels and restaurants, rather than the high-class ones which are owned by the established hotel chains. You can enjoy the food as well as the experience of dining in the native way with banana leaf plates, clay pots and coconut husk cups.
Smaller hotels and restaurants are mostly family-based and the members of the family are the ones who engage in cooking. They use home grown ingredients and carry secrets to delicious dishes from generation to generation. Their cooking is healthy and hygienic; patronising these establishments gives a well-needed income boost to them. It is thus known as an essential ingredient in the sustainable travel initiative.
With the goal of introducing you to an unforgettable local food experience, rather than signing up for all-inclusive meal plans offered at the hotels, Best of Lanka reserves your travels on “Bed and Breakfast” (B&B) basis, permitting visits to local restaurants for lunch and dinner. They say happiness is a way of travel, and you will know how true that is with these visits!
Supporting environmental support organizations
Travel and tourism exist as long as there are places to visit. Many research organisations have found out that tourism affects animal habitats, forests and local hideouts significantly. If the negative effects continue it will be a heavy setback to sustainable travel.
We, as a responsible travel company, are dedicated to conserving the forests and animal life. Although tourism is not the sole reason for deforestation and animal abuse, it is part of our responsibility to assist organisations who work to limit or entirely stop these occurrences. We have chosen to support a few local bodies who are engaged in reforestation and animal welfare activities. It is also one of our objectives to aid in creating employment opportunities for those who have chosen, for want of a career, to engage in illegal or unethical activities.
Knowledge sharing is important as some may be engaged in these sorts of jobs simply due to their lack of knowhow and the need of a livelihood. As a responsible destination management company, we at Best of Lanka have taken it upon ourselves the duty to direct them on the right path and pave way for sustainable travel in Sri Lanka.
2 Local knowledge, Experiential Journeys
Every traveler prefers a tailor-made tour. You plan a lot about it, for a long time, rearrange your other responsibilities and look forward to leave the hustle and bustle of your busy work life.
Your hard work should pay off. What you plan is important to us, and your goals are ours to fulfill. We take pride in offering you exclusive journeys with guides who are full of local knowledge. You will be taken to the unheard of and infrequently visited places, going beyond your expectations to provide you with a unique experience. It is our job to give you an experience which is above ordinary tourist highlights, with accordance to sustainable travel in Sri Lanka.
We believe in a unique experience for any and all of you; a trip which ideally fits your own agenda is our goal. Our guides with an exclusive local knowledge and access to concealed places will create an unparalleled experience for you. Unless you have an “inside” person it is not easy to locate some must-visit places in Sri Lanka. We are in possession of some valuable insider secrets and are willing to show you this island of ingenuity to the fullest.
A trip to Sri Lanka is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This beautiful island known as the pearl of Indian Ocean is home to many hidden treasures and cultural encounters. With our exclusive knowledge of Sri Lanka we are better placed to make that dream of yours come true.
This is an ideal opportunity to embark on the tour of your life; unique wildlife tours escorted by local naturalists, trekking ancient forests, enjoying safaris in remote jungles and more. You are in for a treat! We will ensure that you are making the best of your Sri Lankan visit with our custom-made itineraries and experiential journeys while keeping to the sustainable travel principles we follow.
It is our intention that you get the best out of your money and time, and make unforgettable memories with your visit to Sri Lanka.
3 Authentic Experiences, be a Traveler, not a tourist
Everyone strives for an authentic experience in travel. This is used by many agencies as a tagline who promise you a “unique experience”. Unfortunately, they end up taking every traveler to the same places. Large groups, bussed around, spending nights in chain hotel and patronising the western-designed restaurants is not what makes your Sri Lanka trip memorable.
Mass tourism is not one of our strategies. We will make tailor-made plans for your trip and treat each traveler as different and separate from the other. There are no pre-made plans for the daytime or set dinners and cruises for the night. If you ask for a mix-and-match plan, we are more than happy to be of assistance.
At Best of Lanka, we take you to places which truly deserve to be seen, and let you gain an authentic experience by not just a peep-in at the so-called “tourist attractions” but by giving you a real involvement with the previously-unvisited places. We do not patronise any staged or fake experiences or push you into common “tourist traps”.
Wherever you decide to go, we facilitate a wholesome experience. You will learn about the history, locals and their culture, and engage in activities that are distinct for the area. It will also be a unique sustainable travel experience.
We encourage you to take part in our culture when visiting these places, if you so wish. They may speak another dialect and have a different value system, but they are here to help you understand the gist of Sri Lanka. It is an ideal opportunity to bind with them and have a true authentic experience in your trip to Sri Lanka. Don’t just be a tourist who aims a camera to collect memories; be a traveler who carries the memories in your heart… And be a sustainable/ responsible traveler who can be proud about saving this experience to the next generation.
4 Off the beaten path
Sri Lanka has a country profile seldom found in the world. From the golden beaches to the misty mountains, jungle trekking to river cruises, this island of ingenuity can offer you simply everything. Sri Lanka has won so many tourism awards including “best travel destination” by Lonely Planet in 2019. We still reign in the travel and tourism front due to the myriad of options available, efficient travelling, friendly people and world-class hospitality.
Known around the world as a gem in tourism, the island of Sri Lanka offers you an opportunity to surf the blue seas, swim with the Dolphins or retreat to a quiet rural getaway. There is always somewhere that’s sunny and in-season, and somewhere that is cool and quiet. Sri Lanka is one of the very few destinations that can offer you the hot sun, cool hills and everything in between. Surrounded by the great Indian Ocean, the island bears proof to natural wonders as well as the important milestones of the days of yore. Whatever tickles your fancy, we can find it for you and take you there.
With all these small wonders, it is indeed a misfortune if you had the opportunity to visit this wonderful land and yet was herded around to see only some main tourist attractions. Whether you are a jungle-lover, avid trekker, prefer lazy lounging, or hate shopping and love to roam around the ruins, we have just the right solution for you. We will ensure you are enjoying while following the sustainable travel means we value.
Our plans include places that cannot be easily found on maps or even with a generic guide. We can bring you to see the wonders of the less travelled paths, away from the day-to-day tourist routes. You will stand a chance to visit the midnight turtle egg laying and secret elephant gatherings! These special milestones will be in your memory forever.
5 100% locally owned
Travel and Tourism income increased from 6% to more than 12% of the GDP income of Sri Lanka between 2000 and 2019. It is expected to go up to 1.26 trillion LKR (7.9 Billion USD) in 2028.
These are significant amounts. Where does, and where should, these monies go? It is important that the locals benefit more from the income rather than the already-strong multinationals. Chain hotels are better positioned to provide a star-class service, although at the price of going through a mass experience.
Best of Lanka - a fully Sri Lankan owned destination management company – believes your trip to Sri Lanka should be memorable and unique. We work hard to advance the lifestyles of the locals by working with them, to bring you a different experience, distinct from the popular “tour groups” plan. Being a local company, whatever money you pay to us, stays in Sri Lanka itself.
As a domestic establishment Best of Lanka has strong links with the local service providers as well as the general folk. Wherever we take you, you are ensured that we know the right paths, what to eat from where, and should anything unexpected happens, are well-trained and aware of the best course of action.
As a local body we work with the local community to enhance their day-to-day life. We are conscious about sustainability, strengthening the weak, and providing employment or income opportunities to the less privileged. Travelers usually fall in love with the country and are keen to assist in any way they can, to lift the life situations of the residents. Only a 100% locally owned destination management company such as Best of Lanka can help you with that. One of our main objectives is to help the local community. Hence the employment of local guides and using smaller hotels. With these directives we are not only helping to elevate the lifestyle of the rural community but also creating a pathway for them to benefit from our income as well.
6 100% Tailor made
You can talk to our local travel specialists to get an expert viewpoint to work out a trip most-suited to you. They have long years of experience in designing the perfect trips in Sri Lanka; the success stories are numerous.
Whether you want to stay in luxury accommodation or happy with a simple homestay, passionate for wildlife and thirsty for that perfect shot, we can create the ideal itinerary to suit you. We aim to inspire you to fall in love with the wonder island that is Sri Lanka. It is our goal to match your tastes and interests as we believe every traveler is unique.