Sustainable Tourism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has long been a popular destination.

Tourists from around the world regularly flock to the long stretches of coastline across the south and the west of the island. They frequent the hills, famed for some of the best tea in the world. They come to discover the remnants of a civilization dating back over 30,000 years.

With the end of a nearly three-decade-long civil war, regions of the island that were inaccessible are now open for tourists. These regions—north and east of the island—are home to a treasure trove of undiscovered assets. With tourism arrivals set to rise, IFC and National Geographic are working together to bring sustainable tourism-led growth to Sri Lanka.

The National Geographic-IFC program will provide travelers seeking unspoiled places and culturally authentic experiences in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka with a valuable resource—a comprehensive online Geotourism MapGuide.

Geotourism MapGuides are interactive online platforms that promote the natural, historic, and cultural assets unique to a destination, as identified by local stakeholders. The Eastern Province Geotourism MapGuide website is one of only 22 geotourism programs worldwide. It highlights the unique landscapes, people, and culture of eastern Sri Lanka. 

“More than ever, this project underscores the importance of connecting local communities, smartly sharing the region’s tremendous assets, and helping them thrive together for future generations,” said James Dion, Director of Tourism Programs, Maps Division for National Geographic Society. The MapGuide site will continue to evolve as more nominations are received.

“By sharing their stories, small businesses help visitors find authentic attractions and unique offerings which in-turn helps boost incomes for local entrepreneurs and supports job creation,” said Adam Sack, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives.