Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority

Industry Commitments & Responsibility

Responsible Tourism

Sri Lanka Tourism has recognised that responsible tourism will need to be developed through the multi-stakeholder processes so all views are considered in this regard.

Responsible Tourism Will Initiate The Following Characteristics To The Industry:

  • Minimises the negative economic, environmental, and social impacts;
  • Generates greater economic benefits for the local people and enhances the well-being of the host communities and improves the working conditions and access to the industry;
  • Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances;
  • Makes positive contributions to the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world's diversity;
  • Provides more enjoyable experiences for the tourists through the more meaningful connections with the local people, and a greater understanding of the local, cultural, social and environmental issues;
  • Provides access for the physically challenged people; and
  • Is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between the tourists and the hosts, and builds up local pride and confidence

Convinced that it is primarily in the destinations, the places that tourists will visit, where tourism enterprises conduct their business and where local communities and the tourists and the tourism industry interact, that the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism need to be managed responsibly, to maximise positive impacts and minimise the negative ones.

Guiding Principles for Economic Responsibility

  • Assess economic impacts before developing tourism and exercise preference for those forms of development that benefits the local communities and to minimise the negative impacts on local livelihoods (for example through the loss of access to resources), recognising that tourism may not always be the most appropriate form of local economic development
  • Maximise local economic benefits by increasing linkages and reducing leakages, by ensuring that communities are involved in, and benefitted from, tourism. Wherever possible use tourism to assist in poverty reduction by adopting pro-poor strategies
  • Develop quality products that reflect, complement, and enhance the destination
  • Market tourism in ways which reflect the natural, cultural and social integrity of the destination, and which encourages appropriate forms of tourism
  • Adopt equitable business practices, pay and to charge fair prices, and build partnerships in ways in which the risk is minimised and shared, and to recruit and employ staff while recognising the international labour standards
  • Provide appropriate and sufficient support to small, medium and micro enterprises to ensure tourism-related enterprises thrive and are sustainable ims, Objectives and benefits of the school travel clubs are,

Guiding Principles for Social Responsibility

  • Actively involve the local community in planning and decision-making and provide capacity building to make this a reality
  • Assess social impacts throughout the life cycle of the operation – including the planning and design phases of projects - in order to minimise the negative impacts and maximise the positive ones
  • Endeavour to make tourism as an inclusive social experience and to ensure that there is access for all, in particular vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and individuals
  • Combat the sexual exploitation of human beings, particularly the exploitation of children
  • Be sensitive to the host culture, maintaining and encouraging social and cultural diversity
  • Endeavour to ensure that tourism contributes to the improvements in health and education

Guiding Principles for Environmental Responsibility

  • Assess environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of Tourist Establishments and operations – including the planning and design phase - and ensure that the negative impacts are reduced to the minimum and maximising the positive ones
  • Use resources sustainably, and reduce waste and over-consumption
  • Manage natural diversity sustainably, and where appropriate restore it; and consider the volume and type of tourism that the environment can support, and respect the integrity of vulnerable ecosystems and protected areas
  • Promote education and awareness for sustainable development – for all stakeholders
  • Raise the capacity of all stakeholders and ensure that the best practice is followed, for this purpose consult with the environmental and conservation experts

We recognise that this list is not exhaustive and that multi-stakeholder groups in diverse destinations should adapt these principles to reflect their own culture and environment.

Responsible tourism seeks to maximise positive impacts and to minimise the negative ones. Compliance with all relevant international and national standards, laws and regulations is assumed. Responsibility, and the market advantage that can go with it, is about doing more than the minimum.

Sri Lanka Tourism is committed to making our contribution to move towards a more balanced relationship between the hosts and guests in destinations, and to create better places for local communities and indigenous peoples; and recognising that this can only be achieved by the Government, local communities and business cooperating on practical initiatives in destinations.

We call upon the tourism enterprises and trade associations in originating markets and in destinations to adopt a responsible approach, to commit to specific responsible practices, and to report progress in a transparent and auditable way, and where appropriate to use this for market advantage. Corporate businesses can assist by providing markets, capacity building, mentoring and micro-financing support for small, medium and micro enterprises.

In order to implement the guiding principles for economic, social and environmental responsibility, it is necessary to use a portfolio of tools, which will include regulations, incentives, and multi-stakeholder participatory strategies. Changes in the market encouraged by consumer campaigns and new marketing initiatives also contribute to a market driven change.

Local authorities have a central role to play in achieving responsible tourism through commitment to supportive policy frameworks and adequate funding. We call upon local authorities and tourism administrations to develop - through multi-stakeholder processes - destination management strategies and responsible tourism guidelines to create better places for the host communities and the tourists who visit.

We call upon the media to exercise responsibility in the way in which they portray the tourism destinations, to avoid raising false expectations and to provide a balanced and fair reporting.

We all have a responsibility to make a difference by the way we act.

We commit ourselves to work with others to take responsibility for achieving the economic, social and environmental components of responsible and sustainable tourism.