27th April 2010 – Greening Sri Lanka Hotels

As a board member of the Responsible Tourism Partnership in Sri Lanka I have been involved in a new initiative called Green Sri Lanka Hotels (GSLH). The initiative was launched today and is designed to enhance the environmental performance of Sri Lanka’s hotels through improvement of energy, water and waste management systems, a reduction in the cost of operations and increase the market acceptance of Sri Lankan hotels through promoting them as low carbon foot print green hotels.

The main target groups of the project are small and medium scale tourist hotels as well as the key suppliers to the hotel industry in Sri Lanka.

Over a three year period the GSLH projects aims to get 350 hotels to improve their environmental performance through a reduction on an average of 20% for energy, waste and water consumption.

In terms of energy the hotel sector in Sri Lanka accounts for 4% to 5% of the national electricity demand and energy costs account for 18% of the total cost of operations in the hospitality sector.

The initial pilot project was spearheaded by The Responsible Tourism Partnership, Sri Lanka with an initial 39 hotels signing up. It was then decided to expand the initiative with financial assistance from the European Commission.

The project is a SWITCH-Asia programme with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce being the implementing agency and the following partners providing active support;

With the end of Sri Lanka’s 26 year civil conflict, the creation of political stability after the presidential & parliamentary elections and the world economy showing signs of improvement this is a great time for the hospitality sector in Sri Lanka to focus on becoming more sustainable. After all business as usual is no longer a viable option, particularly in Sri Lanka where infrastructure is old and management systems are out of date.

This is a great project for Sri Lanka tourism and a fantastic step for Sri Lanka towards being a more responsible and sustainable tourism destination.

Libby Southwell

currently taking the MSc in Responsible Tourism Management at the ICRT

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