30 June 2011

Sri Lanka to Permit Eco Friendly Hotels in Buffer Zones of Nature Reserves to Cater to Increased Local & International Interest

30th June 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka will permit eco-friendly hotels in buffer zones adjacent to nature reserves to cater to increased local and international interest in the island's wildlife assets, a government minister said.

Aranya Resort - Yala
Deputy economic development minister Lakshman Abeywardene said discussions would start with wildlife protection authorities next month to change existing laws and develop guidelines to regulate resorts in buffer zones.

"More than just beach tourism there is interest in building eco-friendly hotels," Abeywardene said.

"We are talking to wildlife authorities to develop guidelines."

In Sri Lanka protected areas are under the department of wildlife or the department of forests.

Abeywardene said investors were also keen to protect nature now.

"Investors now do not want to damage the environment," he said. "That is helping us a lot. They come looking for nature reserves."

Aranya Resort - Yala
Abeywardene said there had been massive protests when a hotel was built near the banks of a tank in Kandalama in Sri Lanka's central province but ultimately no damage has been done as claimed by protestors.

Jetwing Leisure group's Yala Safari Lodge, a resort that was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami, was also in a buffer zone for decades. Industry officials say the hotel had even provided resources for authorities to keep water holes filled during droughts.

Vil Uyana, a resort started by Jetwing, was built around a man-made wetland.

Abeywardene said the sea around the Hikkaduwa beach tourism area in the South West coast has been declared a protected coral reserve from this week.

Guidelines had also been issued on boat use.

Related Info :

Sri Lanka's Wildlife Sanctuaries Reopened. Kumana, a Bird Sanctuary and Lahugala, a Wildlife Park Famed for Elephants

Elephant Reach Plans Three more Hotels to Promoting Agro, Spiritual & Eco Tourism in the Face of Increasing Demand

Six Sri Lankan Villages Selected for Eco Tourism under Community Tourism Development Program

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