Developing sustainability in tourism has been one of the fundamental objectives of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. This essential and crucial message of sustainability was launched on the iconic open deck double decker coach of the Colombo City Tour as ‘Driving Sustainable Tourism’ to create awareness among local and foreign tourists.
The event took place at the Galle Face Hotel with the presence of Ministry of Tourism Secretary S. Hettiarachchi, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Director General Dhammika Wijayasinghe, and other senior officials of the SLTDA, Ebert Silva Holidays Chairperson Rajini de Silva Mendis, and Galle Face Hotel Vice President Anura Lokuhetty, among others adhering to all health guidelines and regulations.
The Colombo City Tour is the first-ever open deck city sightseeing service in Sri Lanka which is a venture in collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Ebert Silva Holidays. Open deck city sightseeing is a distinct touristic experience found in every leading tourist destination around the world and the Colombo City Tour was launched in 2010 to showcase the history, heritage and uniqueness of Sri Lanka’s premier city, Colombo, to the world.
Ebert Silva Holidays Chairperson Rajini de Silva Mendis said, “As a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry Ebert Silva Holidays has always been committed to safeguard, preserve and conserve all that Sri Lanka has been blessed with. Therefore, we are indeed privileged by this opportunity to be part of SLTDA’s mission to further promote the message of sustainability through the city tour coaches, as we showcase the city of Colombo to the world.”
She further added that the city tours which were temporarily interrupted due to the second wave of the pandemic will resume following this launch from 12 December, adhering to all health guidelines and regulations. “The tours have been met with great eagerness and enthusiasm by Sri Lankans and we hope that this experience will give the public an opportunity to embrace the ‘new normal’ and to resume their activities with caution and care, thereby assisting the country to move forward.”
de Silva Mendis further added, “We eagerly await the opening of the country to welcome foreign visitors to showcase the city of Colombo to the world once again, adhering to all health regulations and guidelines whilst promoting the message of sustainability.”
de Silva Mendis also conveyed her appreciation to Sri Lanka Tourism for spearheading the recovery of the industry. Even though the whole world is affected by the pandemic in general, it is the tourism industry that has been affected in particular. Travel, tourism and hospitality in Sri Lanka is experiencing one of the darkest moments in history. However, being resilient and tenacious she said she is confident that they will rise again to take Sri Lanka to great heights.
Galle Face Hotel Vice President Anura Lokuhetty welcoming the gathering highlighted the necessity of sustainability and how it has become a growing concern in the ever-evolving world that we live in today. Quoting the famous sayings of Chief Seattle which says: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children,” Lokuhetty further explained that sustainability should be a lifestyle not just a mere concept that we embrace.
In his address he stated, “As Sri Lankans, we are blessed to live in an island country with a wealth of natural resources. The main reason why many around the world are attracted to our island nation is that, it is like a one-stop shop… name it to be the golden sandy beaches, the scenic vista of the hill-country, waterfalls, heritage sites; one can experience it all within a matter of minutes in our paradise island.
Lokuhetty further stated that as a person who has been involved in the hospitality and tourism industry for more than four decades, it is his view that sustainability is the main requirement of Sri Lanka tourism, today. He further stated that, sustainable tourism should be our way forward and it is the necessity of the present. He also mentioned that tourism should be carried out in a manner that protects the very product that sustains the industry. As the sustenance of the tourism industry of Sri Lanka is reliant on our country’s vista and natural resources.
A colourful highlight of the event was the awarding of certificates and gifts to winners of the Art Competition of the Children’s Day organised by the Galle Face Hotel and Ebert Silva Holidays on 1 October. More than 100 children participated at the Children’s Day event which included educative and fun-filled city tours around the city. An art competition was organised for the children who participated with the objective of inspiring and encouraging their creativity and 10 winners between ages 3-12 years were chosen for their creative talent and felicitated at the event.
The Galle Face Hotel, one of the oldest and foremost heritage hotels east Suez, which is over 156 years old and Ebert Silva’s a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism, completing 100 years in 2025, announced their pledge to join hands as responsible and committed stakeholders of tourism and hospitality industries of Sri Lanka, to take the message of sustainability to the future generations. With the support of SLTDA, the Galle Face Hotel and Ebert Silva Holidays will initiate a series of programs, comprising of an island-wide art competition among others for children from next year, based on the theme of Sustainability. The objective will be to guide future generations to be conscious and aware of the obligation and responsibility in protecting and preserving all that Sri Lanka is blessed with for the future. http://www.ft.lk/travel-tourism/Driving-sustainable-tourism-promoted-on-Colombo-City-Tour/27-710510