While you enjoy your holiday, you also have the power to make a positive contribution to the people and the places you visit. There are various ways of making a difference. We believe in responsible tourism and sustainability for all and would much like for you to become responsible travelers when holidaying.
Through Room directories and tent cards we explain how you can become a more responsible tourist. You are requested to respect nature and culture and local communities in the areas you visit. Guest relations executives explain when the guests arrive, the proper behavior of guests during community interactions, including the appropriate dress codes especially when visiting places of religious importance.
We give you a few tips on how you can become a responsible traveler.
WARM FRIENDLY PEOPLE
Sri Lanka, a great smiling nation is known for its warm friendly people. You will always be greeted with a smile whether in your hotel or on the road. Don’t hesitate to smile back locals are very friendly towards visitors.
Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people.
We have three official languages including English, which is widely spoken. It can be great fun learning a few phrases in Sinhalese or Tamil. This is certainly a great way to make friends. Saying ‘Ayubowan’ with your hands clasped together is the main greeting as well as saying good bye. Ayubowan means – may you be blessed with long life.
RESPECT THE RIGHTS, FEELINGS AND PRIVACY OF LOCALS
Respect cultural differences – and learn from it! People in different places do things differently. Don’t try to change them – enjoy them.
ASK FOR PERMISSION BEFORE PHOTOGRAPHING LOCAL PEOPLE & PLACES
When visiting local communities let your behavior be guided by the people you meet there. Sri Lankans are very hospitable and are friendly towards visitors, however respect their privacy. Always take advice from your guide and seek permission before you enter anyone’s home, a community building or a gathering.
Always ask before taking photographs of people and places. If someone says no, respect their wishes. Some religious sites and certain ceremonies are restricted from being photographed. If you are taking pictures, first ask. Most locals will be very happy to be photographed. Pay respect to sacred sites and statues. It is not recommended to pose in front of such sites with your back to them.
Cultural practices, traditions & religion play a strong part in the local way of life. Lifestyles are generally centered on customs and religious importance. There are a number of festivals and a busy calendar of events for cultural & religious activities. You will find that every full moon day of the month is declared a Buddhist ‘Poya’ holiday. Sale of liquor is prohibited on this day.
WHEN VISITING RELIGIOUS SITES
Remember to remove head gear, footwear and cover your body reasonably well when visiting Buddhists temples and other religious places. Locals generally wear white or sober colors. Conservative dress is the norm. Notice local dress codes and adhere to them.
TRY THE LOCAL DISHES
A large choice of locally grown tropical and exotic fruits, vegetables and fresh seafood are widely available. Sometimes locals might perceive, possibly wrongly that you like to eat western types of food all the time. Try and taste delicious local dishes. Most indigenous culinary practices often offer wellness and health benefits.
BE FAIR WITH YOUR BARGAINING
Other than in a main store with price marked items, there are plenty of opportunities for bargaining. Remember, bargaining should be seen as an opportunity to build a social relationship between seller and buyer, not simply as a competitive economic exchange. Agree on a fair final price, considering the time and effort that has been spent in making the product or service offered. Remember, a small saving for you can be a significant amount to the seller.
Shopping in Sri Lanka is excellent value for money. The destination offers exciting shopping for quality garments & fabrics, gems & jewelry, souvenirs, lifestyle items, various memorabilia, and informative colorful coffee table books on various themes. At times, especially in the resort areas you will encounter local street sellers offering various goods and excursions; be tolerant of their lack of language and marketing skills. Buying local souvenirs helps the local economy and supports livelihoods.
In many areas you can find crafts that are special to that specific area. Buying from producer groups directly not only supports the local workers and their families, it also helps create awareness and education on age old crafts handed down from generations to generations. Your appreciation for local crafts will help revive dying and disappearing arts and crafts.
TAKE ONLY PHOTOGRAPHS AND LEAVE ONLY FOOT PRINTS
You will discover a striking variety of wildlife, plants and some rare and ancient items during nature excursions in many parts of the country. This is our heritage and should remain where it belongs. It is illegal to collect and export archaeological relics and certain animal and plant varieties. Avoid buying souvenirs that exploit wildlife or endangered species.
Sri Lanka has a number of laws on child protection and the prevention of child abuse. Under domestic law, the definition of a child is anyone below the age of eighteen years and child abuse includes all acts of sexual violence against, trafficking in and cruelty to children. The law prohibits the use of children in exploitative labor or illegal activities. Severe penalties exist for sexual exploitation, child trafficking and abuse.
Do not give pens, candy or other gifts to local children – it fosters a begging economy and keep them away from schools. If you wish to donate, contact our Guest relations executives or tour operator who can ensure the gifts are distributed fairly and properly.
HELP PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
The Environment around your hotel too is very fragile, when visiting sites or enjoying the nature refrain from touching or collecting any items or creating any other form of negative impact. Participate in re-forestation or tree planting or Beach cleaning program hosted by your hotel. This will not only off set CO2 emissions but will also assist in protecting the bio diversity.
CONSERVATION OF ENERGY & WATER
Sometimes, you might not know the extent of scarce resources used to make your visit a comfortable one. Use air conditioning, electricity and water sparingly. Remember to turn off lights, air conditioning, television and taps when not in use. Unplug your mobile phone charger. Take shorter showers. Our hotels implement many energy, water and waste management initiatives and these measures have helped us reduce our carbon foot print substantially. Please support us in ensuring sustainability for all
Don’t litter. Try to avoid excessive waste and the use of plastic bottles – bring your own and consider purifying your own water. Try to carry your own shopping bag to avoid contributing to the plastic problem in many countries of the world.
Remove all unwanted packaging material and avoid disposable goods before you leave your home country. We make every effort to make use of all our waste and convert waste to a resource.
CONTINUING TO SUPPORT
You may come across communities in need of a helping hand. We suggest that you support humanitarian or conservation efforts that are promoted by your tour operator or the hotel. You can select a charity that you can either support while you are on holiday or after you have returned home. School projects and community welfare projects can be much more rewarding and have long term benefits. – support those who support responsible tourism.