On the invitation of the institute for cultural diplomacy in Berlin the Minister for Tourism and Sports, Navin Dissanayake, mentioned that ceylon tea or the apparel industry of Sri Lanka, which together is a 7 billion dollar industry for Sri Lanka, they in Sri Lanka are always driving for sustainable development. Hence the tourism industry being sustainable will become a way of life in the near future. UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, and the Ambassador for Sri Lanka and Switzerland, Karunatileka Amunugama, were in attendance with a distinguished gathering of special invitees as the institute in Berlin, including Chairamn of SLTPB, Dr. Rohantha Athukorala, and Chairman SLTDA Paddy Vitharana.
The logic for the argument was that ceylon tea over the years has fashioned itself to be the ethically-manufactured cleanest tea in the world as per the Kyoto protocol. The booming apparel industry has also transformed itself to give Sri Lanka the credibility of becoming the “ethical sourcing destination of the world” for the top global retail brands. Hence, the tourism industry which was affected by the conflict for almost thirty decades, will change itself to meet the sustainable standards of the world over time, as Sri Lanka which is an island with limited resources, will naturally practice and become the global standard for sustainability.
In fact, some hotel properties have become Asia’s first green hotels which are directions on the correct path. The real challenge is how Sri Lanka meets the challenge of skilled staff given that the unemployment levels are at a healthy 4% and below. This is a challenge that the industry must address for the future sustainability of the industry.