UNDP, SLTDA Partnership to establish National Sustainable Tourism Certification Scheme | Daily News

UNDP, SLTDA Partnership to establish National Sustainable Tourism Certification Scheme

Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Kishu Gomes and UNDP, Policy and Design Specialist UNDP, Tharuka Dissanaike, exchanging the agreement in the presence of the Minister of Tourism Development Wildlife and Christian Affairs, John Amaratunga and Director General SLTDA, Upali Ratnayake.
Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Kishu Gomes and UNDP, Policy and Design Specialist UNDP, Tharuka Dissanaike, exchanging the agreement in the presence of the Minister of Tourism Development Wildlife and Christian Affairs, John Amaratunga

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) initiated the National Sustainable Tourism Certification Scheme, NSTCS for Sri Lanka Tourism with the technical and financial assistance of Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) of UNDP.

The main reason for the Project to have started is to put into action the Sri Lanka Tourism Strategic Plan TSP 2017-2020. In the TSP, sustainability occupies an important place. Sustainable tourism in all aspects of tourism development and a national sustainable tourism certification scheme has been identified as a crucial element, placing emphasis on the development of the country’s tourism industry.

With international arrivals expected to rise globally, destinations strive to enhance their tourism competitiveness. While tourism growth brings positive outcomes for countries, there could also be negative impacts, unplanned tourism could lead to problems. Against this background, Sri Lanka government too with its ambitious growth targets of tourists arrivals, acknowledges that the tourism industry need to continue in offering positive tourism experiences ensuring the long term sustainability. It’s not a secret that some tourism hot spots are already feeling the pressure of tourism.

This project was designed considering the current importance given to sustainable tourism globally, and to successfully compete as a highly demanded destination. Therefore, the global context was considered in designing the project so that NSTCS will be relevant not only to Sri Lanka but also internationally.

Sri Lanka Tourism reached the No. 1 ranking as Top Destinations to visit in 2019 by the Lonely Planet, followed by Sri Lankan cuisine ranking to No. 1 in BBC Good Food 15 food trends for 2019. Research of more than 1.3 million social media posts found the Asian city location travellers most want to take a pictures of- Colombo ranked No. 1. These are very valuable recognitions that any destination would aspire to achieve. What this means to Sri Lanka is, it will experience a rapid influx of tourists to the Island. This is all the more reason why Sri Lanka should treat sustainability as an urgent intervention without delay. NSTCS will lead Sri Lanka Tourism in the right direction. Given the vast and complex nature of all tourism service providers, this project scope considers the accommodation sector in the first phase. Already the first batch of hotels have applied for certification and their impressive sustainable practices will be recognized through this scheme.

Minister of Tourism Development Wildlife and Christian Affairs, John Amaratunga explains that, sustainable development is the foundation for developing Sri Lanka as a tourism destination. “Our strategic plan identifies the need and the importance of growing the industry in a sustainable manner”. He further stated that “UNDP’s technical assistance in sustainable tourism is very relevant and timely to our country at a time when Lonely Planet has recognized Sri Lanka as the best destination to visit in 2019.”

Chairman STDA Kishu Gomes, remarked that “Sri Lanka Tourism has optimistic goals to be achieved in the next 3 to 5 years, these deliverables can only be ensured if we grow the industry in a sustainable manner where product and service quality is maintained on par with the best of the world.

“Then we will have satisfied repeat tourists and they will bring more tourism to the country through word of mouth publicity.”

The Resident Representative of UNDP Sri Lanka, Jorn Sorensen stated “The Adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals presents us a huge opportunity to put Sri Lanka on a more prosperous and sustainable development path. This is why UNDP is pleased to partner with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority to make the tourism industry more sustainable in the long run and ensure its benefits are more widely shared.”

 


 

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