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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

POTENTIAL AND FACTORS AFFECTING ECOTOURISM IN SRI LANKA

S P Vidanage* and H B Kotagama**
*Central Environmental Authority; **University of Peradeniya

Tourism in Sri Lanka has a strong, still growing role in earning foreign exchange and creating new employment. However, if adequate safeguards are not taken, present mass tourism could give rise to serious problems of environmental degradation. The cost of servicing mass tourism is very high due to its heavy dependency on imported items. Further, the rich industrialized tourist generating countries have the control of hotel chains, international air lines, tour agencies etc. Thus it is questionable whether the real beneficiaries of this mass tourism are third world countries like Sri Lanka or the rich industrialized nations who dominate in the above mentioned services.

The main objective of this study was to identify the potential for developing nature tourism in Sri Lanka and factors affecting such tourism in Sri lanka. The field survey was conducted during the period of October 1994 to February 1995 using questionnaires prepared in English, French and German. Both non-parametric data presentation and regression analysis were employed in data analysis.

This study concludes that there is a significant potential for development of nature tourism in Sri Lanka. Nature tourism is proven to be less demanding in terms of accommodation standards and more demanding regarding information about the destination. Social conflicts can also be avoided when local people get involved in managing protected areas through nature tourism. It is concluded that nature tourism can be recommended for Sri Lanka on a pilot project basis and after evaluation, decisions on further development can be taken.


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