From Ceylon Tea to Eco Tourism: Sri Lanka
Tropical forests, 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometers of coastline with lots of white sandy beaches and one of the leading Ceylon tea producers worldwide – this is Sri Lanka. While a cup of Ceylon tea is a popular choice in many countries, did you know that Sri Lanka actually produces the only ozone-friendly tea in the world?
Ceylon Tea and the Environment
Tea-growing regions in Sri Lanka are mostly located among mountains in the central and southern regions. Due to the two different monsoon winds in Sri Lanka (northeast and southwest), the mountains experience a different period of rainfall on each side, creating fascinating different climates for the tea growing crops. Thus, each region produces a different kind of Ceylon tea that, with a unique combination of climate and surroundings, influences the tea’s delicious taste and character.
Tea planters understood early on that the conservation of forests that lay above the tea plantation is an important focus as well. With this natural sense of sustainability, Sri Lankan tea planters partnered with the Sustainable Agriculture Network that sets standards for sustainable practices and are also certified under the Montreal Protocol on greenhouse gases, making Sri Lanka’s tea the only tea in the world that is ozone-friendly!
Eco-Tourism in Sri Lanka: A Beginning Journey
What comes natural to Sri Lanka’s tea planters is also a growing importance in the tourism industry. As the government does not directly fund eco-tourism, hotel owners face high expenses to create eco-friendly accommodations. This leads to only partially thought-through practices or sometimes even none at all.
Even though the tourism market of Sri Lanka is booming, many hotels do not leave place for green standards, simply out of lack of financial support or knowledge. As Candice Perera from Amaya Resorts notes:
“Eco-tourism is still in its infancy in Sri Lanka”.
Despite these difficulties, Sri Lanka does have eco-friendly destinations that will make everyone’s green heart beat stronger and that lead the journey of eco-tourism in the tropical island nation.
Amaya Resorts: Promoting the Sustainable Message
Amaya Resorts is one of these pioneer examples. For Candice Perera, sustainable travel means the support of businesses in the country, as well as the conservation of cultural heritage and traditional values.
“As a tourist to another country, one must be informed of that country’s local cultures while supporting it with respect and integrity.”
Three of Amaya Resorts are Green Pearls members and each hotel adds to the positive development of eco-tourism in Sri Lanka in its own way:
1. Hunas Falls by Amaya – An idyllic mountain retreat that impresses with the Hunas Falls in the middle of the tropical forest Elkaduwa. The area around the resort is exemplary for Sri Lanka, as there are a variety of habitats ranging from grasslands to sub-montane forests. Hunas Falls is committed to preserving this natural diversity but also to enhance the naturalness of the environment, which includes – you guessed it – tea plantations.
2. Amaya Lake – A traditional village-style accommodation right along historical ruins makes Amaya Lake a mystical and fascinating destination. Spread over 40 acres of land right beside Kandalama Lake, guests discover how the aura of local historical treasures match with modern luxury.
3. Amaya Beach Resorts & Spa – Located right beside Passikudah Bay, a reef that runs across making it the ideal hide-away. Amazing ocean views and white sandy beaches make guests fall into a state of peacefulness. Their responsible approaches are seen in all aspects of the hotels, from employing local people to the carefully planned open architecture of the building to bring in much natural light.
Shaping the Future of Sustainable Places in Sri Lanka
Another resort brand, Jetwing Hotels also has made their hospitality mission a green one. As Prasanna Welangoda from Jetwing Hotels states:
“Our eco-tourism strategy is very simple – we want to preserve this land which we have for future generations! The triple bottom line says a successful business focuses on people, planet and profits, which means we have to balance anything we do accordingly.”
With conserving the nature around tea plantations and with green voices from eco-resort pioneers, eco-tourism in Sri Lanka is being shaped continuously.
So next time you drink your cup of Ceylon tea, why not beam yourself to Sri Lanka and to one of the green resorts the country has to offer!