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Heritance Kandalama Hotel in Sri Lanka: A 2010 Responsible Tourism Award Finalist

  • Terence Ooi & Deborah Chan
  • 15 October 2010

Just one week remains before winners are named Wild Asia’s 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards, a competition that honours the efforts of small- and medium-sized hotels and tour operators in Asia for their elevated practice of responsible tourism.

Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

The Wild Asia team recently paid a visit to Heritance Kandalama in Sri Lanka, one of six finalists who hail from countries as diverse as Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Republic of Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

At the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle and flanked by two UNESCO World Heritage sites – the 1st-century-BCE Dambulla cave temple and the 5th-century-AD Sigiriya rock fortress, the tiny village of Kandalama, Sri Lanka, just 20 kilometres east of the town of Dambulla, is blessed with rich biodiversity and is a perfect outpost for lovers of the outdoors. Its proudest showpiece is the Heritance Kandalama Hotel, surrounded by rocky outcrops and lush forests, and overlooks the glistening Kandalama Tank (lake).

Blending seamlessly with its natural surroundings, the Heritance Kandalama, a chef d’oeuvre of Sri Lanka’s renowned architect, Geoffrey Bawa, combines true luxury with a responsible approach to its rich local environment. Since opening its doors in 1992, the hotel has received numerous accolades, including being the first LEED-certified hotel to be recognised outside of the USA.

Evidence of the hotel’s commitment to sustainability is the Eco Park it established as a tool for wildlife preservation and environmental education. Within this conservation area are facilities that include a waste separation centre, a sewage treatment plant, a plant nursery for indigenous seedlings, and an eco museum. There is even a special unit for crafting recycled paper out of elephant dung. Over the years, the Eco Park has also evolved into an animal rehabilitation centre, where wildlife is rescued, cared for and prepped for reentry into the wild.

After 16 years, the hotel’s doors remain open for the occasional skeptic, curious researchers, students and travellers of taste who seek an uncommon kind of local travel experience. The Heritance Kandalama is not only a pride of Sri Lanka, but a worthy example in the world of responsible travel.

Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award banner

Tune in to The Travel Word in the coming weeks to read about the last remaining Responsible Tourism Award finalist from Thailand. Winners will be announced on 21 October 2010 during the Responsible Tourism Award ceremony at ITB Asia in Singapore (20–22 October 2010).

Together with the Awards will be a Responsible Tourism Forum and networking session jointly organised by Wild Asia, ITB Asia and The Blue Yonder. Themed ‘CSR in Travel,’ the forum will feature the Award finalists, winners, CSR leaders and green entrepreneurs among others. ‘CSR in Travel’ will cover topics such as tourism and sustainability, greening the supply chain and communicating Responsible Tourism, as well as share Responsible Tourism experiences by successful tourism operators, NGOs and social enterprises working in Asia.

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animal conservation, Asia, forests & jungles, mountains, partnerships, responsible travel, responsible travel news, South-Central Asia, Sri Lanka, WHL Group news, world heritage,

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