ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s diversified conglomerate Aitken Spence is moving into carbon neutral emissions initiatives for tour operations, officials said amid for many high-end European have shown willingness to travel destinations which are more concerned on such initiatives.
The move would help tourists to travel “guilty free” in the country, Upul Kumara, Manager of Atiken Spence Travels, said.
“This kind of tourism attracts a lot of Western Tourist as they prefer to travel guilty free” Kumara told EconomyNext.
He said that clients have increased for sustainable carbon neutral emissions over the last year, where it rose from 21 in 2021 to 50 clients in 2022.
Sri Lanka’s tourism sector has shown some recovery path after the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis-led political crisis. But the recovery has been far below the expectation and the industry is looking for more innovative steps to boost high-end tourist arrivals. The sustainable tourism is one of such initiatives and most Western tourists prefer the concept.
“That is because of the maturity and the no guilt feeling after leaving, because they are inherited travelers,” Upali Rathnayaka, Director at Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, told EconomyNext.
Sri Lanka is incorporating carbon neutral emissions through substituting high power consuming lights to LED-based electricity and also creating a central air conditioning system in place of a singular system. The country has also been looking into shift to renewable energy from thermal power.
Information from Sustainable Tourism Authority showed that tourism is responsible for roughly 8 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.
Carbon emissions in tourism are presented through flights and boat rides to souvenirs and lodging also including various activities contributing to tourism’s carbon footprint.
Carbon neutral is defined as balancing the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from these activities with the amount that is being absorbed or removed from the atmosphere.
Sri Lanka has welcomed 59,759 tourists in November 2022 official data showed, the highest since April 2022 as arrivals continued to improve.
The country is likely to miss its 800,000 tourist target for this year, but hopeful to attract travelers from European and American market, mainly long-haul holiday-makers for the winter season.
Despite a looming global recession, tourism authorities are optimistic about 2023 for tourism targets.
“Tourism is like a lake. Although, Sri Lanka attracts a tiny percent of global tourism, when you go to a lake with a cup, it’s still enough to suffice a crisis.” Rathnayaka said, (Colombo/Dec03/2022)