News report | | 29-07-2022 | ±3 minutes reading time

For most countries, tourism largely contributes to the economy. Unfortunately, unrestrained tourism can also cause a lot of damage to the nature and culture of the residents. More and more places, including Sri Lanka, are paying more attention to sustainable tourism. In this article, you can read more about the importance of responsible tourism and compensating CO2 emissions.

What is sustainable tourism?

The term ‘sustainable tourism’ is a relatively new addition to our vocabulary, but not an unimportant one. The enormous growth of tourism of the last decades has caused a significant amount of damage in various countries. Often, the local people had to make way for the facilities of mass-tourism, such as hotels, shopping malls, water parks, and much more. Because large business chains establish themselves in places with many tourist attractions, there is often little profit for the local population from tourism. Nature, infrastructure and cultural heritage also suffer heavily from mass tourism in Sri Lanka.

While the economic benefits of tourism are indispensable for a country like Sri Lanka, it is important that travellers take their responsibility in the matter. A sustainable trip will meet the following three requirements: supporting the local population and its initiatives, limiting CO2 emissions, and respecting and protecting the environment. For example, you can choose to travel in a less busy period in order to distribute the influx of tourists and avoid an overload.

Tourism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has suffered greatly on several fronts over the past two decades. Tourism did gradually take off, but stagnated and declined repeatedly. After the tsunami in 2004, many villages and roads were destroyed and until 2009, a civil war between the state and the so-called Tamil Tigers still raged, which kept tourists away. In 2019, the country was again shaken, this time by terrorist attacks in which 250 people lost their lives. Sri Lanka is now safe to travel to, as these attacks proved to be an isolated event.

Around 10% of Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product comes from tourism. A large part of the inhabitants therefore works in the tourism sector, but it are still mostly the larger corporations that profit the most from it. Tourists can however choose to directly support the Sri Lankan people. Many people offer their homes for home stays, and there are plenty of small scaled accommodations run by true locals. This comes with the extra advantage that this is the perfect way to uncover the hidden treasures of Sri Lanka and explore the country’s daily life.

The fact that Sri Lankans themselves recognize the need for sustainable tourism, means that the country has an expansive range of options available. There are many freelance guides and drivers who like to show tourists the most beautiful places of their country. Many of them drive electric or hybrid cars because the government provided a lot of tax benefit for these vehicles. These drivers and guides are familiar with the best places to eat of residents, and like to tell about the history of old buildings and other landmarks.

CO2 emissions and compensation

Tourist air travel causes a lot of CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, many countries such as Sri Lanka, will suffer a major economic setback if tourists can no longer fly into the country. Luckily, there are possibilities to reduce CO2 emissions to a minimum, but also to compensate them. When applying for a Sri Lanka visa on this website, you get the opportunity to compensate the CO2 emissions of your flight to Colombo. The average emission of this flight is then calculated, and you pay a certain amount of money which invests in an organisation that is committed to reducing CO2 emissions on earth. An example of such an organisation is an energy-generating hydropower plant. Also, always try to book a direct flight for lower CO2 emissions. Once in Sri Lanka, you can reach many places by train because there have been considerable investments in an accessible train network.