Eco-labeling, Accreditation and
(A proposal prepared by Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) under the guidelines provided by Ecotourism Australia, The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), The Region Initiative (TRI) and the United Nation's Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) Programme.)
Small and Medium scale Tourism
establishments in Sri Lanka
"………Develop cost-effective 'Eco Labeling System' for SMEs enabling them to offer their products and services to the national and international market in a more sustainable manner………."
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Profile of Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF)
Tourism organizations which are eligible to join the SME of SLEF
How the SLEF SME Division could support Sri Lanka Tourism
What is certification?
The core area for Certification of SMEs
The UNWTO guidelines for certification
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Profile: Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF)
Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) is the pioneer national ecotourism organization in Sri Lanka established in 1998, with a vision to make Sri Lanka as one of the most sought after ecotourism destinations in the world and to build up a professional ecotourism network, which serves as a model for ecotourism in the Asia and Pacific Region. SLEF is proud to mention that during past 14 (fourteen) years, it has achieved most of its Objectives and Goals in marching towards a sustainable tourism fabric in Sri Lanka. During past years, SLEF took all possible steps in promoting Sri Lanka Ecotourism in the world ecotourism map. In appreciation of the services contributed to Sri Lanka Tourism, SLEF has been awarded by Sri Lanka Tourism for the 'Outstanding Contribution to Tourism' and the 'Best Initiative for Research and Training of Ecotourism in Sri Lanka' in two consecutive years, 2010, and 2011. Palitha Gurusinghe, President of SLEF is a Board Member of The International Ecotourism Society (TI ES), the largest and the oldest international ecotourism society in the world based in USA. SLEF is also a Professional Member of Ecotourism Australia and the Head of South Asia of the Region Initiative (TRI)
Introduction; Ecotourism and SME Tourism
Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Tourism sector is one of the most formidable tourism segments in Sri Lanka Tourism. It generates sizable income to Sri Lanka Economy by way of foreign exchange through tourism. It is an accepted fact that the tourism income generated by SME sector in a country does not drain back to generating markets abroad through the companies managed by local and foreign multinational tourism giants of main stream tourism sector. In Sri Lanka there are more than 5,000 (five thousands) SME tourism entities but most of the establishments not registered with local authorities or Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authorities, (SLTDA).
Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF), the pioneer national ecotourism society in Sri Lanka has been working hand in hand with the SME tourism sector in Sri Lanka for past 14 years (since 1998) and the SLEF was instrumental in lobbying for a SME Tourism Association in Sri Lanka. In 2003, Ecotourism National Policies, Guidelines and Strategic Action Plans were formulated by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board with the funding support provided by NORAD. SLEF was the only active member of the Steering Committee representing Ecotourism and worked with NORAD Team in providing valuable input to formulate the national policies in Ecotourism. Since the inception of SLEF in 1998, it was exploring the possibility of formulating 'Small and Medium Tourism Network' in Sri Lanka to cater to the Ecotourists visiting Sri Lanka, because, mainstream tour operators cannot cater to the needs of ecotourism as they require specialized services.
Ecotourism is a niche market that could be developed successfully but marketing strategies of ecotourism is vastly differing from conventional mass tourism promotion lines. The challenge for Sri Lanka will be to develop a strong SME tourism sector which will benefits Sri Lanka economy and bring a lot of direct benefits to the local community. In adhering to these important concepts, the SLEF in association with GTZ (German International NGO) explored the possibility of establishing a SME Sector for Tourism in Sri Lanka. Since 2004, SLEF worked hand in hand with GTZ and other likeminded individuals and organization in Sri Lanka Tourism to introduce the concept of SME tourism in Sri Lanka. Almost after two years hard work, finally, in 2006, the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism Sri Lanka (ASMET) was born and the SLEF President, Palitha Gurusinghe was appointed as the General Secretary. Though Palitha resigned from the post of General Secretary after two years he is stil l a Board Member of ASMET.
There has been a surge in tourism arrivals immediately after the conflict with record 46% growth in 2010 with total arrivals surpassing 650,000 confirming the fact that Sri Lanka has been globally acclaimed as one of the finest destinations for the discerning traveler searching for peace, tranquility and multi faceted attractions. The Economic Development Minister Hon. Basil Rajapaksa vowed to take every possible effort to turn the tourism industry into the highest foreign income earner of the country.
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SLEF Strategy in promoting SME Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka
Since the SLEF is working with a large number of establishments of SME Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka, it has decided to formulate a sub-sector of SME Tourism Division within the fold of SLEF. The main Objective of this sub-sector organization is to support SME tourism Sector to have a healthy dialogue with Sri Lanka Tourism Authorities to realize their business goals and address issues pertaining to their day to day and long term business issues and operations.
How SLEF wishes to support SME Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka
Promote small and medium scale tourism enterprises in Sri Lanka to serve better and offer personalized service for the national and international visitors who are willing to support the community and preserving and conservation of environment and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka"
" To position Sri Lanka as an outstanding destination for 'Sustainable Tourism in Asia' benefiting the Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka"
The primary Objective
The SME Tourism Division would focus social and economic development of Sri Lanka through best practices of tourism and will take all possible steps to strengthening of the institutional capacity of the SME sector and its members
Long Term Goals
01. Support and provide guidelines to the SMEs to develop their tourism businesses in a sustainable manner to attract up market eco-friendly visitors
02. Support the SMEs in providing of financial assistance through grants and micro finance facilities
03. Develop cost-effective 'Eco Labeling System' for SMEs enabling them to offer their products and services to the national and international market in a more sustainable manner
04. Establish SME branch organizations on district and regional levels so as to build up a close relationship with SME stake holders
05. Involved SMEs members in National and International Training Programmes on the latest development of eco-friendly tourism products
06. Secure support from Sri Lanka and World Tourism Organizations to develop the SMEs to an international standards
07. Support the SME Members in devising new market opportunities through the web sites of SLEF, the mother organization
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