AbaY Eco – Guides at WTM

A three member delegation from the ‘Community Based Eco-Guide Association’ (CEGA) of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka will be in London to participate at this year’s World Travel Market to be held at ExCel from November 12 to 17. They will be joining the Sri Lanka delegation under the theme of ‘sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka’, which is a part of the current theme of WTM. ‘Green Globe’ is the main theme of WTM this year.

The launch of ‘Community Based Eco-Guide Association’ (CEGA) ,CEGA website and their marketing programmes was held in Colombo recently under the giudence of Sri Lanka Tourism Authority and Chairman Renton de Alwis. The launching ceremony was held at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Hotel School.

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The launching of CEGA, its web site and marketing programmes are a turning point of Arugam Bay Tourism history, as CEGA is the pioneer model Community Based Tourism Project to be developed and launch in Arugam Bay in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. The CEGA has been formed in to 13 Eco-Guide Members and 15 other community based organizations and cooperatives based in Pottuvil, during a Community-Based Ecotourism Project implemented by the Institute for International Economic Cooperation (ICEI) in partnership with Sewa Lanka Foundation and funded by Italian Cooperation and Regione Lombardia. Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation is responsible in training of CEGA guides and promoting marketing in CEGA tourism projects based in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka.

Welcoming the Special Guests to the occasion, Giuseppe Busalacchi, Project Leader, ICEI, stated that the Vision of ICEI is to promote income-generating activities related to community-based tourism for the sustainable development of local communities through environmental conservation and the enhancement of cultural heritage. He further said, the specific Objectives of ICEI of the Arugam Bay Community Based Ecotourism Project is to promote a community based eco-tourism, in a participatory approach, able to value community local culture, to ensure environmental sustainability and to generate and distribute benefit fairly among the community members, in Arugam Bay-Pottuvil Division-of Ampara District.

Addressing the event, the Chief Guest, Renton de Alwis, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourist Board, remarked, ‘I must thank SLEF, Sewalanka Foundation and ICEI for developing a model Community Based Ecotourism Project in Arugam Bay, the eastern province of Sri Lanka, which some of us failed to do that on our own. It is important to note that not the community can benefit from tourism but how tourism could benefit from community. It’s really a philosophy. In any sense, good tourism must be sustainable, what ever we do in tourism, it should be sustainable. He noted the promoters of the CEGA Project have given the nets for the community but not the fish. He noted the programme for the tourism promotion in the east is two fold. Apart from the hotel property promotions in the east the Sri Lanka Tourist Board is very much interested in promoting ‘home stays’ that perfectly fit with the community based tourism concepts.’

Presenting the CEGA Marketing Programme, Palitha Gurusinghe, President, Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) and the Coordinator, Advisory Panel of the Community Based Tourism appointed by the Ministry of Tourism said ‘ Today, Community Based Tourism is one of the well debated topics. The Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation which pioneered this concept in its real perspective, promoted the same as the main component of ecotourism since 1998. We are happy to note that SLEF has gone so far to date, in promoting and developing not only the concept but ‘real’ community based ecotourism enterprises’ (CBEs) in Sri Lanka. He further observed ‘I am very happy to note the Minister of Tourism has appointed an ‘Advisory Panel to look in to the CBO projects in Sri Lanka, which are on going and future potential projects as well’.

He noted that ‘ICEI-Sewalanka-SLEF Project in Purchase tenormin online Arugam Bay is very productive for Sri Lanka Tourism and thanked ICEI and Sewalanka Foundation headed by Harsha Kumara Nawaratne, the Chairman, Sewalanka Foundation, for their great contribution in moving the project ahead. Jagath Harshana, Coordinator, Tourism Division, Sewalanka Foundation proposed the Vote of Thanks.


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