Sri Lanka boutique hotels holiday

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sri Lanka boutique hotels holiday

Environment

Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation
Sri Lanka has diverse habitats and a great variety of indigenous wildlife and plant life. To help maintain breeding populations of some of the more vulnerable animal species endemic to the island, conservation projects have been started. Through our Sri Lanka holidays we encourage travellers to visit some of these projects to support their conservation work.

The Turtle Conservation Project in Rekawa, on Sri Lanka’s south coast, is one example. It's one of the places where turtles come to lay eggs and, since 1993, has been protected by the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP). As a non-government organisation it is quite distinct from the turtle hatcheries established on the southwest coast in accordance with the legislation passed in 1972 protecting the various turtle species. Instead of collecting the eggs when they are about to hatch, and looking after the baby turtles for a few days, the TCP protects the actual nesting sites without any intervention apart from discouraging predators. Of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, five nest at Rekawa, with over 97% being green turtles.

TCP has been recognised for its work by receiving a 'Highly Commended' award in the 'Best for Conservation of Endangered Species or Protected Area' category at the Responsible Tourism Awards.

The Elephant Transit Home in Uda Walawe National Park is another example. It's an excellent way of seeing baby wild elephants in their natural environment and as a project supported by the Born Free Foundation, it has animal welfare at its heart.

This conservation project takes in baby wild elephants that have been separated from their mothers and cares for them until they can be returned to the wild. The young animals spend their days roaming freely in a section of the park, being observed at a distance by a few members of the ETH staff. They are fed at three-hour intervals in a specially constructed feeding yard, and this is the only time that they can be seen by tourists, who watch from a viewing platform separated from the yard itself. At no point can the tourists have physical contact with the animals. The sight of feeding time is very popular with local and foreign tourists alike as the elephants are enthusiastic, relaxed and full of character, unlike the elephants at Pinnewala Elephant ‘Orphanage’ (see below).

We do not promote or visit Pinnewala Elephant ‘Orphanage’ following adverse reports from Travellers’ Animal Alert, the global animal welfare campaign of the Born Free Foundation we support (see below), and some of our own customers. Please contact us for more details.

Born Free Foundation
The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity working throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild. Born Free's Travellers’ Animal Alert campaign works around the world to generate a greater public awareness of animal suffering and exploitation, encouraging the public to report animal 'attractions' they encounter both in the UK and abroad, and to promote the philosophies of the Born Free Foundation.

We are an active supporter their Travellers’ Animal Alert and we encourage all travellers to be aware of potential animal exploitation while on their holidays.

In order to help Travellers’ Animal Alert, we promote the following guidelines as a provider of responsible tourism:
• Promote Travellers’ Animal Alert in our customer travel documents and on our website
• Pledge not to promote any exploitative animal 'attraction' through our company literature or website
• Encourage all our holiday service providers not to promote any activity that involves animal exploitation
• Encourage our staff and customers to look out for captive animal exploitation and report any suffering to Travellers’ Animal Alert
• Actively encourage compassionate and responsible tourism.

Safari camps
Whilst on safari, we encourage our guests to “take only memories, leave only footprints” – Our safari camp specialist is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, conserving the nature reserves in which it visits and protecting the wildlife within them. The aim is to give guests a unique and comfortable experience that does not come as a sacrifice to the national parks. Nothing is damaged when the tents are set up, and nothing is left when the mobile camp is packed away again. Everything from the food and toilet waste to every canvas sheet and tent peg is packed up and removed from the safari campsite when you leave. The passion of our safari camp specialist for both tracking and protecting Sri Lankan wildlife is what makes it Sri Lanka’s number one safari camp operator.

Green partnerships
Our safari camp specialist is currently contributing information to The Leopard Project of the Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (WWCT) Spotting the Spots initiative. This form of data, provided by park visitors, has been used successfully in a number of projects around the world. This initiative is of particular importance to account for periods where researchers are absent from the park.

It also supports the wildlife department by helping to look out for suspicious behaviour or poaching within the parks. Hunting poses a massive threat to Sri Lankan wildlife and our safari camp specialist is doing everything it can to stop these barbaric practices and protect Sri Lanka’s animals and environment.

In addition, a collection of photos taken by our safari camp specialist contributed to the book “Lennie the Leopard” by Jan Latta, who is developing wildlife and conservation education for children through true-to-life stories on endangered animals.

Green energy
There is no need of generators at the mobile tented campsites since all energy required is produced via renewable sources. The campsites use photovoltaic cells to produce solar power for the lights in the tents to recharging batteries in the jeeps. Not only does this mean that there are no power cuts, it also means that there is no need for a noisy generator – solar power is totally silent – which benefits the environment and the safari experience by reducing noise and air pollution. We believe that for the perfect safari you should be able to enjoy the blissfully fresh air of the jungle and hear only the sounds of the wild, and in doing so we can fight climate change too!

Green products
Recycled paper is used at the campsites wherever possible to reduce paper waste and our safari camp specialist is working on going completely paper-free as it believes that trees belong with their roots – firmly in the ground. In the meantime, it ensures that as much paper as possible is recycled.

A range of organic toiletries are provided for showers and washing to ensure that unnecessary pollution is kept to a minimum around the nature reserves. The harsh chemicals found in certain soaps and shampoos can have a detrimental effect on the campsite and so all toiletries provided are 100% natural.

There is a serious attempt to reduce the amount of plastic used at the mobile safari campsites. Plastic bottles can be harmful to the environment as they are non-biodegradable and can be poisonous to wildlife. To cut down on plastics used within the park, our safari camp specialist provides stainless steel water bottles in tents as a re-usable and more sustainable alternative.

Green cuisine
Eating sustainably doesn’t have to be at a sacrifice of the dining experience. Our safari camp specialist truly believes that it serves up some of the finest food you can find in Sri Lanka. All of the food is locally sourced, which means that it is not only supporting the local community and economy, but it is also reducing gas emissions and energy consumption caused by industrial farming and long-distance produce transportation. Over time, locally-sourced products help contribute to healthier soils, fresher air, and better water quality, as well as supporting small businesses and fighting climate change. Knowing that your food comes totally fresh and at no detriment to the environment means that you can enjoy our award-winning alfresco dining with the satisfaction that you are helping to save the environment, one bite at a time!

Reducing water consumption
• Less than 20% of the world's water is fresh water.
• Acute water shortage has become a recurring problem in many parts of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.
• Conservation is the greatest resource when it comes to water supply.

Sri Lanka, like many countries around the world, suffers from acute water shortages at certain times of the year. Even though the island experiences two monsoons a year, the reservoirs and tanks are not of sufficient capacity to supply the country’s requirements. This not only causes water shortages in villages and towns – in some areas they are limited to only one hour’s supply a day during these periods – but also contributes to power cuts since much of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power. Reducing water consumption while travelling in Sri Lanka will contribute directly to conserving essential water supplies. Much of the Sri Lankan population wash in rivers and lakes and so supplied fresh water is used mainly for cooking and drinking.

Limiting non-degradable waste production
In previous times many of the goods and products sold in Sri Lanka were packaged in natural biodegradable materials. Today, however, much of the packaging is non-degradable and this waste pollutes the environment, particularly when it is not disposed of correctly. Limiting the amount of non-degradable waste generated helps to preserve the environment and reduces the potential negative impact on wildlife.

• Try to buy goods and products in biodegradable packaging. For example, many pharmacies in Sri Lanka dispense medicines in paper bags rather than plastic bags.
• Limit the number of plastic carrier bags acquired when shopping by putting your purchases directly into your own bag without extra packaging.
• Reduce the number of plastic water bottles used by storing your drinking water in a re-usable water container. (Bringing a water filter, potable iodine solution or water purification tablets with you will help limit the number of water bottles required.)
• Always dispose of non-degradable waste carefully since it can have a detrimental effect on the environment and wildlife.

Community

Through our Sri Lanka holidays we actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel to Sri Lanka. By working on our Sri Lanka holidays closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, self-employment and self-development.

Sri Lanka holidays guides
We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise.

Sri Lanka holidays transportation
We offer private, bespoke holidays to Sri Lanka for individuals, couples, families or groups of friends of up to eight persons. Our small group sizes allow us to use cars, small vans or jeeps when travelling around Sri Lanka and when visiting rural areas and national parks, where use of larger vehicles in such areas often results in widening and blacktopping of rural paths for coach access. The resulting effect on the environment can be devastating. We feel that our small group sizes also lead to less impact both on the environment and the people that we visit as well as allowing for more supervision, advice and explanations with the high ratio of guides to travellers. The vehicles used for our tours are all regularly serviced to maintain safety and comfort, and to reduce pollution levels.

Sri Lanka holidays accommodation
We actively promote intimate and authentic boutique hotels that employ local workers with a flair for hospitality, showcase traditional architecture and design, and excel in offering the true flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine - with a twist!

Sri Lanka holidays restaurants
Embracing local cuisine is an essential part of any holiday if the visitor is to understand the country’s culture and savour its culinary delights. Consequently, we encourage visitors to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food. This contributes directly to the local economy and provides employment in the local food industry, as well as helping to counter the opinion that tourists only eat Western-style fast food.

Local crafts
Local goods always make interesting souvenirs to take home for family and friends. Sri Lankan craftsmen are renowned for their jewellery making, metalwork, wood carving and weaving, and visits to artisans may be incorporated into this holiday at various points in the itinerary, particularly in Kandy and Galle. We encourage visitors who would like to take souvenirs home with them to buy locally produced goods since this helps to preserve traditional crafts while at the same time contributing to the local economy. On the other hand, we are totally against the illegal trade in endangered species and their products and therefore actively discourage visitors from buying such goods. We also do not condone the use of wood that does not originate from well-managed plantations independently certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council or that is illegally logged from ancient forests.

Sri Lanka community-led projects
The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (an independent charitable organisation) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every holiday booked.

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