Tourism can either help a country or harm it. Do you want to be a tourist that falls into the first category or the second while travelling around Sri Lanka? Hopefully, you’re rooting for the former. To help you with your noble endeavour, here are five ways that you can be a sustainable Sri Lankan traveller.
Ixnay on the Itterlay!
For those of you that aren’t fluent in Pig Latin, this basically translates as a plea for a quite simple request: DON’T LITTER!
For the sake of all’s that good in the world, don’t throw out rubbish on the streets, or at any attractions you visit. They pollute the environment and can upset the local ecosystem, which definitely does not make for sustainable tourism. Be especially wary of this at Sri Lankan national parks and waterfalls such as those in the island’s hill country. Littering in places like these will have a direct impact on the local wildlife and villages. Many upcountry water sources are used to provide drinking water.
If you can’t find a bin or trash can to safely throw away your rubbish, keep it with you until you can. For this purpose, it’s best to carry something like a Ziploc bag. True, the plastic bag does not lend itself well to recycling; but in this scenario, it may well be the lesser of two evils. If you can think of a more eco-friendly solution, by all means, do go for it!
Pick Eco-Friendly Options
Where possible, go with eco-friendly transport and accommodation and transport options. Choose hiking or cycling during your Sri Lanka travel, instead of taking cars or tuk-tuks. Especially when you’re in the great outdoors. Also, travel by road or train as opposed to flying, if you have time to spare. The former is way cheaper, and the latter causes an unbelievable amount of air pollution. With regardsto lodging, pick Sri Lankan hotels, guest houses hostels and resorts that employ green practices.
Go Easy on the Consumables
Consumables here, refer not to foodstuff (you can stuff your face all you want with tasty Sri Lankan delights), but to precious resources such as electricity and water. What does this mean? For starters, try not to have hour-long baths. And if you have an option between baths (i.e. in a bathtub) and showers, opt for the latter. At low to medium levels of water pressure, a 10-minute long shower is ideal to get the job done. It will consume much less water than a bath would.
Where ever possible, go for local products and services, over imported ones. Sample local food from stores rather imported items. Eat out at locally owned restaurants, rather than at global franchises. For example, if you’re in Colombo and craving for pizza, consider stopping by Giovanni’s. The same applies to accommodation. When selecting luxury or budget hotels in Colombo, pick local accommodation providers like Yoho Bed and stay with a local host.
When in Rome…
Lastly, please do be mindful of Sri Lankan culture and customs. Doing your research before you arrive will help you promote socially sustainable tourism. For example, while Sri Lanka is a hot and humid tropical island, do bring appropriately modest clothing to wear. You’ll need it if you plan on touring religious sites. Although some temples are more strict than others, it’s best to be considerate of religious and social etiquette.