Arugam Bay hits the top as a A?a??E?Best DestinationA?a??a??

Arugam Bay

At a packed hall of enthusiastic tourism crowds, the World Travel Market Responsible Tourism Awards Ceremony took place at Excel in Docklands London on the 14th November 2007 and Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka was awarded the A?a??E?Highly Commended Best DestinationA?a??a?? award. This recognition no doubt is a tremendous boost and an instrument for the revival and development of tourism in Arugam Bay and also adds a high profile for Sri LankaA?a??a??s tourism. There will no doubt be immeasurable publicity generated reaching the tourism industry and consumer media worldwide and this will certainly contribute towards image building of Sri Lanka as a responsible and sustainable tourism destination.

The World Travel Market (WTM) is the premier trade fair in the travel and tourism industry and draws a huge number of top executives, service providers, buyers and government tourism officials every year in November to London. Approximately 5,500 buyers and suppliers representing 202 countries and territories attend the WTM. The World Travel MarketA?a??a??s World Responsible Tourism Day was sponsored by the Virgin Holidays and held in association with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Fiona Jeffrey, Chairperson of the World Travel Market at the opening ceremony said A?a??A?WTM World Responsible Tourism Day on 14th November is the day that the aimless talking had to stop and the action began. For the first time ever we will bring the entire planet and the travel and tourism industry together in a way that has never been previously done.A?a??A?

Responsible Tourism Partnership, also a WTM World Responsible Tourism Day accredited logo user for the work its doing in the Responsible Tourism sector, says that it is delighted to have been able to assist Arugam Bay to receive this very important international tourism accolade and also recognize the work of several NGOs and organizations such as Sewalanka Foundation , Arugam Bay Tourism Association and ICEI in Arugam Bay who have been actively working rebuilding livelihoods promoting community tourism efforts. There is tremendous international interest currently in green and responsible tourism, this is strongly seen not only from the consumer side but also from the travel and tourism industry side and this international award for Arugam Bay will open the eyes of the tourism policy makers and the tourism industry to advance in sustainable tourism development.

Arugam Bay is classed among the top ten surf destinations in the world and there is so much more. The village itself is a delightful experience, there are no big hotel chains there and the community has developed tourism with their own hard work and imagination. Three star establishments rub shoulders with low-key stilt cabins and coconut palm leaf cabanas, and tourists share the beach with local fishermen. The wild and rugged scenery, elephants browsing at the edge of the village, abundant birdlife, and mysterious archaeological sites have made this a long time favourite destination for travellers.

The three ethnic groups ( Buy tadacip from india Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims) work and live in harmony. The population is 3,000 families and tourism establishments consist mostly of small family managed hotels/guesthouses and restaurants.

The community wants community-based tourism and feel that what makes Arugam Bay attractive is the community involvement and it should not be made a mass tourism destination. In Arugam Bay, tourism not only brings money, but it also creates a vehicle for peace for three ethnic groups to work and live in harmony. Community wants to link with government and protect the lifeline to the community and create a different model for Sri Lanka Tourism. The community is not against development but demands that it should benefit the community and not keep them away and only involve outsiders. The success will be when the experiences achieved by the community are used for future development.

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