Sri Lanka ‘can be best wildlife tourism destination outside Africa’ says Euromonitor

Sri Lanka could become the best wildlife tourism destination outside Africa, according to world-leading market research organization Euromonitor.

Says Research Analyst Jocelyn: “Sri Lanka is very well-positioned to be an authentic destination for experiential travel, especially in wildlife tourism. Sri Lanka can be the best wildlife tourism destination outside Africa.”

Mirror Business was reporting the Cinnamon Future of Tourism Summit 2017, noting that travellers are becoming keen to explore destinations, which offer unique experiences, farther away from Africa.

Minor Hotels CEO Dilip Rajakarier: Urges caution as “too many tourists and safari vehicles crowding in on the animals”.

Note of caution from hotels boss

But Minor Hotels CEO Dilip Rajakarier voiced a note of caution, noting how in Yala—the most popular national park in Sri Lanka—too many tourists and safari vehicles crowding in on the animals, threatening the sustainability of the park.

He reportedly said that “jeep drivers use mobile phone to update each other on animal sightings—especially the leopards—to provide tourists with a special memory but such acts have resulted in vehicles speeding inside the national park, with some animals, including leopards, becoming road kill for the speeding jeeps”.

The Wildlife Conservation Department managed to ban mobile network operations in mid-2015 to combat this, but the ban was lifted shortly thereafter.

Aitken Spence Group Chairman Harry Jayawardena: called for regulations to restrict the number of tourists visiting wildlife parks.

Restrictions on tourists in wildlife parks urged

Many stakeholders, including Aitken Spence Group Chairman Harry Jayawardena, have called for regulations to restrict the number of tourists visiting wildlife parks.

And wildlife enthusiast and veteran hotelier Srilal Miththapala is attempting to create the experience surrounding wildlife tourism and to educate the local guides and drivers of the importance of sustainability for their future job security.

Sri Lanka made Rs.1.45 billion in revenue from sales of wildlife park entrance tickets to foreigners in 2016, up 42.94 percent year-on-year (YoY), while the number of foreign visitors was 783,203 in 2016, up 40.23 percent year-on-year.

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