Sri Lanka considered as a Prime destination for tourism over centuries, whether it is Eco Tourism, Agro Tourism, Adventure Tourism, Wild Life Tourism, Nature Tourism or Culture Tourism, Sri Lanka is the most sought after tourism destination in Asia, with Six World Heritage sites and over 25 Bio diversified hot spots under her nest. The country has the highest Biodiversity per 10,000 square km in Asia and fifteen (15) distinct bio regions in an area of 62,500 square km each offering different landscapes and wildlife opportunities. Sri Lanka is gifted with abundance of Fauna and flora species and has a tradition of conservation of wild life starting from 3rd century BC. World’s first wild life reserve was declared in the island in 3rd century BC by King Devanampiyatissa. Historical evidences suggest that the killing of animals, within the boundaries of Anuradhapura was prohibited by the king.
The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) welcomed Sri Lanka as a new destination member.
The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) welcomed Sri Lanka as a new destination member. Sri Lanka was represented by the Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF), the pioneering “Ecotourism Society” in Sri Lanka, since it was established in 1998. Its vision is to make Sri Lanka one of the most sought-after ecotourism destinations in the world and to build a professional ecotourism network, which serves as a model for ecotourism in the Asia and Pacific regions.
Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, Chairman of the International Council of Tourism Partners said: “We are so pleased that Sri Lanka has joined ICTP. The long-term goals of Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation are right in line with ICTP’s commitment to green growth”.
It is the mission of SELF to use ecotourism in Sri Lanka as a tool to conserve the environment, assure maximum economic benefits to the host community, preserve age-old cultural heritage, provide in-depth information about Sri Lanka, and to satisfy the needs of both national and international Eco tourists visiting genuine ecosites in the island.
The President of the Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation, Palitha Gurusinghe, said: “The focus of Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation is the social and economic development of rural communities in Sri Lanka, through Community-Based Ecotourism Enterprises. From its inception, SLEF has worked hard to introduce and implement poverty alleviation programs through ecotourism. To realize this objective, SLEF provides support services and motivates local communities to participate in Community-Based Ecotourism and environmental conservation projects. We are confident that our membership with ICTP will only benefit our work.”
Mr. Palitha Gurusinghe was appointed to the Advisory Board of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), the world’s oldest and largest international ecotourism association, based in Washington D.C. in year 2010. Palitha is an ardent promoter in Ecotourism in Asia-Pacific Region and is the Secretary General of the Asia-Pacific Regional Ecotourism Council (APREC) . He is an academic and International Presenter in Ecotourism, who has contributed in various international, regional and national ecotourism conferences regularly. He is the author of many research papers in Ecotourism and Editor of journals, newsletters of eco and sustainable tourism.
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