Sri Lanka has seen a steady increase in tourist numbers over the last decade, since the end of the civil war in 2009. Named as Lonely Planet’s #1 travel destination for 2019, Sri Lanka was bracing itself for a big year in tourism, with numbers expected to rapidly increase. However, due to the Easter Sunday bombings of 2019 which saw more than 200 individuals die across the country, tourist arrivals have suffered drastically. With numbers slowly increasing, it is critical that Sri Lanka takes this time to set up responsible and efficient systems which would enable tourists to enjoy the country in a hassle-free and conscious manner.
If unregulated tourism ventures and practices are developed and continue to remain unchecked by the Government and relevant authorities, Sri Lanka risks losing its uniqueness and natural features and charm that drove it achieve the #1 position.
LEF’s long-term goals and guiding principles aim to strengthen Sri Lanka’s biodiversity by working with local organizations to assist them in safeguarding the diverse environments of the island from the growing influx of tourists. The Fund is currently aiding in the development and dissemination of a Sustainability Best Practices Guide aimed at helping SME’s in the tourism sector create more eco-friendly methods of running their businesses. It will be looking to enable the integration of global best practice in responsible tourism, within the local Sri Lankan context.