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37 hotels to be recognised for sustainable practices by SLTDA

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  • National Sustainable Tourism Certification first step towards making tourism industry sustainable

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) initiated the National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) as the first step towards making the tourism industry sustainable with the technical and financial assistance of Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) of UNDP in mid-2018. 

After the successful completion of the process, the first batch of hotels is set to be awarded and recognised for their impressive sustainable practices on 5 August at Ape Game, Battaramulla from 6 p.m. onwards with the participation of Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) CEO Randy Durband and GSTC Director Asia and the Pacific Dr. Mihee Kang.  

This project was designed considering the current importance given to sustainable tourism globally, and to successfully compete as a highly demanded destination. The global context was considered in designing the project with the facilitation of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) so that the certification will be relevant not only to Sri Lanka but also internationally.

It is also the first time in the world a government tourism organisation has taken an initiative of this kind and the certification scheme was designed after a series of consultations with the stakeholders where issues, suggestions and recommendations were obtained. As the pilot project, it was decided to implement the certification in the accommodation sector in the first phase and later open it to all tourism service providers.

A questionnaire was sent out to all classified hotels registered with SLTDA to select a sample and43 hotels responded with their interest in being a part of the pilot project. Then, the NSTC application was sent out to these 43 hotels in January 2019 where 37 hotels applied for the certification. 

Hotel auditing process started in April 2019 by the SLTDA staff who were trained before that by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Regional Director, Asia and Pacific Dr. Mihee Kang and by the end of April this year SLTDA successfully conducted audits in all 37 properties with the assistance of internal and external auditors. Finally, the evaluation process was conducted by an evaluation committee comprising of professionals in sustainability and tourism fields. 

Parallel to the awards ceremony, a tree-planting ceremony is scheduled to take place at 8:30 a.m. at Marine Drive, Colombo on 5 August and a three-day sustainable destination management training program will be held from 6 to 8 August for Government and Provincial Council officers and industry stakeholders.

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