ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka can build an ‘eco-brand’ catering especially to younger tourists who feel strongly about the environment, United Nations Resident Representative to Sri Lanka, Azusa Kobota said.
About 70 percent of global travellers prioritise sustainability in their holiday choices, marking a ten percent increase from 2021, while around 30 percent of travellers feel guilty about flying, due to carbon emissions, she said.
“As the world embraces green thinking during this time of economic recovery efforts, the objective of the tourism sector cannot simply be about increasing the number of inbound tourists,” Kobota said at an event marking World Tourism Day in Colombo.
“It has to be about enhancing their experience through green lenses, by implementing a responsible, eco-conscious paradigm for the sector and building a stronger eco-brand around the sustainable agenda for Sri Lanka,”
“This is no longer about reducing the trade offs between growing the industry and protecting the environment.
“We must see nature as our asset and solutions to be obtained for the exponential growth for our future generations.”
The sustainable tourism market is estimated to have earned 195 billion US dollars in 2022, and is expected to reach about 656 billion US dollars in 2032, she said.
“Tourists, particularly the younger generations from gen X,Y,Z are deeply, deeply conscious about the long term choices of their actions, and the adverse impact of tourists on the environment.
“Statistics show that a significant proportion of global travellers, about 30 percent, feel guilty about flying due to the environmental impact and 22 percent say they actively prefer public transport and bicycle rental options, over renting a car.”
Sri Lanka welcomed one million tourists by September 26 and is expecting more that 1.5 million tourists by the end of the year. (Colombo/Sept29/2023)