News & views from our members around the world

Font size: +
7 minutes reading time (1442 words)

Sri Lanka: Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), July 17-20, 2020

estc-srilanka-1 ESTC 2020

Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference (ESTC), 2020 - July, 17-20, Hambantota, Sri Lanka

International and regional gathering of Ecotourism experts in Hambantota, Sri Lanka

"Voice of the Community in the Asia-Pacific Region that can be heard in the wider global forum of discussions"

ESTC '20 is hosted by Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation in association with International Ecotourism Society (TIES), Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and The Asia-Pacific Regional Ecotourism Council (APREC)

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation, (SLEF), is the pioneer National Ecotourism Society of Sri Lanka that was established 21 years ago. During past years, SLEF has been actively supporting Sri Lanka Tourism to position the Island as one of the main ecotourism destinations in the Asia-Pacific Region. Since 1998, SLEF has been working with The International Ecotourism Society, the largest Global Organization for Ecotourism established in 1990. SLEF is a TIES' Advisory Board Member and the Regional Coordinator of Asia-Pacific Region. /

ESTC is an annual International Event for the Ecotourism fraternity hosted by the International Ecotourism Society (TIES), the highest global body for Ecotourism and exclusively for the development of Ecotourism in developing countries. TIES' global network of ecotourism professionals and travelers is leading the efforts to make tourism a viable tool for conservation, protection of bio-cultural diversity, addressing the global climate change issues and sustainable community development to make travel and tourism more sustainable and as a means to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through membership services, industry outreach and educational programs, TIES is committed to helping tourism organizations, communities and professionals at global level

Promoting and practicing of the principles of ecotourism. TIES currently has members in more than 190 countries and membership base well over 15,000 - representing various professional fields and industry segments including: academics, consultants, conservation professionals and organizations, governments, architects, tour operators, media, lodge owners and managers, general development experts, and ecotourism experts.

This year, 2020, Palitha Gurusinghe the President of (SLEF) and the Asia Pacific Regional Ecotourism (APREC) has perused The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) to host ESTC 2020 (ESTC) in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Particularly Palitha was very focused in having the event in Hambantota as the destination has all the vital resources to promote it as an 'Ecotourism hub of Asia Pacific Region'. In this regard, (SLEF) has already developed a concept paper on why Hambantota should take lead in promoting Ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific Region.

City of Hambantotoa is one of the most important provincial capitals of Sri Lanka located in Deep South, (South East), Southern Province, approximately 200 KMS from Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. During the period of ancient kings of Sri Lanka, the region around Hambantota was known as 'Magampura, was the center of liberation movement led by kings of 'Ruhunu Kingdom', against the foreign invaders who occupied Sri Lanka. The region was once the center of a prospering civilization in Sri Lanka and a hub of hydraulic civilization of the Island, played a pivotal role in building the nation and nurturing its Buddhist culture. Currently, Hambantota is a well-developed city with modern infrastructure witha goodd road network connected through expressways with other parts of Sri Lanka. An International Airport, International sea port, International Convention Center and a luxury hotel network were added jewels of the crown of Hambantota. The tourists visiting Hambantota feel fascinated by the panoramic views of the natural beauty of the city and its surroundings. They also find the best opportunity to discover the flora and fauna in the natural habitat of the area. Hambantota also is nick named as "The Salt Capital of Sri Lanka' as the biggest salttern is located there.

ESTC 2020 aims to promote and strengthen Community Based Ecotourism (CBE) in the Asia-Pacific Region and to position Hambantota, Sri Lanka, as an 'Ecotourism Hub of the Asia-Pacific Region" and to increase the competitiveness in Ecotourism Products and services in the global and intra-regional tourism markets . Besides, ESTC will promote active participation of females in the country actively in the convention and ecotourism events to enhance gender integration in the national tourism agenda.

The ESTC '20 will be held at the Magampura International Convention Center, Hambantota, where the delegates could enjoy all modern facilities such as easy accessibility through Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and well developed road network. In and around Hambanthota , there are very good hotel network ranging from 05 stars to Eco Hotels, Ecolodges, Jungle Lodges, Camping and Caravan Park accommodations, Cabanas, Tree Houses, Home-Stays etc. International and Regional guests taking part at the ESTC could enjoy wonderful pre and post Conference tours visiting famous bird sanctuaries such as Bundala Ramsar Wetlands, Ruhunu (Yala) and Lunugamwehera National Parks, Rediyagama Safari Park, which are located in close proximity to the Convention Centre and in accommodations of the visitors. These nature and wildlife parks are famous for wild elephants, leopards, sloth bear, endemic birds and thousands of flora and fauna attractions in Sri Lanka. Visitors also could enjoy Dry zone Botanical Gardens, Birds Research Centers & Resorts, Agro Technology Parks, Hot Springs etc.

Apart from, Habantota is a center of culture and heritage tourism. As stated above, Hambantota (Magampura) was a center of civilization in Sri Lanka during 5th century BC, and continued for many centuries. There are many historical, cultural and archaeological monuments and artifacts remains located in the area. The area was also one of the hubs of hydraulic civilizations in Sri Lanka and clustered with many manmade irrigational reservoirs. Some of the important cultural sites located in the area are Sithulpawwa Rock Temple, Tissamaharama ancient Buddhist Temple, Kataragama Skanda (Hindu) shrine, Mulkirigala Rock Monastery, Kirinda etc.

Taking in to consideration of the above facts, Hambantota City, District and surrounding areas could be well developed as an 'Ecotourism Hub of Asia and Pacific Region'.

With a view to organize the event successfully, a Steering Committee has been formed by SLEF, comprising of professionals, experts representing Sri Lanka Tourism, academics from the Universities and higher education Institutes, Bankers, leading travel journalists etc. They are Palitha Gurusinghe, President, SLEF, Dirk Grigson, Vice President-SLEF and a well-known professional in the leisure sector business over 45 years specializing in a destination management company in Sri Lanka. Dirk started his career at the Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel and then moved on to pursue his career in Hemas. There, he became the Director General Manager of Hemtours (Pvt) Ltd. During this period he represented Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Operators (SLAITO) as the President from 2006 to 2008 (02 Years). He also served on the Board of Sri Lanka Ministry of Tourism Convention Bureau. Currently he is a Managing Partner of TC Holidays (Pvt) Ltd his own company.

Dirk is responsible in all travel logistics of the ESTC.

Mr. Sena Peiris, Vice-President-SLEF, a Mechanical Engineer by profession, passed out from University of Ceylon, Peradeniya in 1972. He secured and qualified as a Cleaner Production Expert in 1997, under UNIDO. Sena currently serves as a Director of Business and Industry Development Services (pvt) Ltd and Integrated Business and Industry Solutions Ltd. and as a trustee of ISSPRO(Germany), Vice President of Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation. He also served as the president of Asia Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production(APRSCP), the regional network for sustainability. Sena, a well know academic, is handling all academic programmes and communications of the ESTC.

Mr. Sanath Weerasuriya, Vice-President of SLEF and the Travel Editor of Sunday Times is responsible of national and international media coordination.

Samitha Surendra, graduated from the Monash University, Australia, is in charge of Information Technology and publications related to the ESTC.

SLEF is privilege to have Ms. Rohini Nanayakkara, in the ESTC Steering Committee. She is one of the most senior Bankers of Sri Lanka (former CEO, Bank of Ceylon, and the Directors and CEOs many Banks and financial institutions in Sri Lanka namely, Seylan Bank, LOLC etc. She is an ardent advocator and the driving force behind in promoting the gender empowerment in Sri Lanka and the South Asian Region. Currently, she is the Chairperson of the South Asian Women's Network (SWAN), Sri Lanka Chapter which the Head Quarters is based in New Delhi, India.

Shortly, TIES, SLEF, APREC and the Sri Lanka Tourism would publish the detail Conference Program, Packages, Registration methods and related details of the ESTC 2020 in their respective websites as details given below., /,

For more Information; Please call

Palitha Gurusinghe + 94 71 256 68 74

Dirk Grigson + 94 71 15535 44

Sena Peiris + 94 + 94 77 3281903

Sanath Weerasuriya + 94 773596219

Samitha Surendra + 94 760566337 

Welcome Coronatourism!
Utopia through Tragedy?