Sustainable travel is a global movement, and Sri Lanka should be top of your list as a sustainable travel destination! This article will show you how…
We should start with what sustainable travel really means. Essentially it means finding ways for tourism to be possible long term, without causing harm to the natural and cultural environment of the places being visited. Basically what sustainable travel should do is not only minimise the negative impacts tourism can have, but also be beneficial to the local area, and communities.
It should be abundantly clear that the benefits of sustainable travel are enormous. Not only do you get to discover amazing parts of the world, but by doing so you are ensuring that the people living there benefit as well as making it possible for future generations to do the same.
We couldn’t be happier that global travellers, such as yourselves, make decisions about where to eat, sleep and play based on supporting local communities, environmental action and social good! Here are a few gems that the pearl of the Indian Ocean has to offer.
The Polwaththa Ecolodge, literally translating to coconut estate, is an all-round excellent choice for the eco-conscious traveller. Located just half an hour outside of Kandy, in Digana, you will find a slide of rural paradise. This is a family-owned property which embodies their vision for community empowerment and environmental action. The property provides employment for the local community, and the dishes served up in the Sri Lankan kitchen are worth a visit on their own! All your meals are made from local produce, and even enjoy a cup of organic ‘wild’ coffee, grown on the property. There is also a little shop which sells eco-friendly products made from
hemp, by local women from the surrounding villages. Not only is solar power used at Polwaththa Ecolodge, but they also work on reforestation projects (of ayurvedic plants, trees, fruits and herbs) with their community neighbours.
While you are in the Kandy area, make sure you stop at Sthree, which is a marketplace operated by the Women’s Development Centre. Here you can purchase some sustainable souvenirs – handmade and eco-friendly and made by female entrepreneurs and members of the local community living with disabilities. There is also a cafe attached where women from the community cook traditional Sri Lankan dishes. To make the experience even more special you can also have a cooking lesson, so you can recreate these dishes back home – the ultimate sustainable souvenir!
Of course, the Kandy area isn’t the only place for you as a sustainable tourist. Almost in the shadows of the world-famous Lion Rock, lies the aptly named Hotel Sigiriya. This hotel is the true definition of caring for the local community. Hotel Sigiriya identified a need for pre-school education in the area, and not only built a school but staffed it as well! To this day they continue to pay for the teachers salaries and encourage families to send their little ones for free education. As well as caring for the community, the environment is also a top priority and the journey to eliminate plastic from the property is underway. As you float in their beautiful pool, with a view of a UNESCO world heritage site, you can be assured you are doing your part to give back to the community too!
Here we have presented just a little taste of the sustainable options to whet your appetite – but rest assured that this is just the beginning. Of course, we know that as a well-informed sustainable traveller, you know that any holiday is only improved by caring about the long-term sustainability of the destination – Sri Lanka thanks you in advance!