Assistant Editor’s Note: We are pleased to announce the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s first member from Sri Lanka, Eco Team. Below is a brief Q&A with Dileepa Manawadu, the Eco Team Marketing Manager, discussing this move and the larger strategic Eco Team has been experiencing relative to the adventure travel industry.
Can you give us some background on Eco Team and how it fits into the adventure travel market in Sri Lanka?
Being one of the first companies in Sri Lanka to operate an Adventure Base camp in Beli Hul Oya in Sri Lanka, Eco Team has shifted from soft adventure to hardcore adventure sports within a short span of time. We have seen an increased interest from travelers in indulging in holidays that are more enduring both physically and mentally. The new portfolio includes wildlife safaris and camping, white water rafting, canoe river safaris, mountain biking, rock-climbing, caving, rain forest exploration, trekking/hiking, and kite surfing, to name a few.
Why did Eco Team seek out ATTA membership?
“Having won the Presidential Tourism Awards for 2009 in Eco-tourism category, we have been inspired to raise the bar for ourselves. In order to do this, it was important we make the correct affiliations with world-class expertise in our segment. This is why we approached the ATTA,“ said Dileepa Manawadu, Eco Team Marketing Manager.
Anuruddha Bandara, CEO/Managing Director of Eco Team added, “Having returned from the Adventure Travel World Summit concluded recently in Scotland, I am convinced that the membership will help Eco Team and in turn Sri Lanka to become a world ‘Hot Spot’ for adventure travel in the years to come.”
What specifically about the ATTA drew you as a member, and what areas are you most hoping to be able to advance through ATTA membership?
Sri Lanka is relatively young for adventure tourism. Having identified the potential for adventure tourism due to our greatly varied terrain within just 65,000 square km of land, we want to tell the world about the possibilities here. At the same time, we expect that our interactions with the rest of the adventure travel industry, facilitated through ATTA, will help us improve our products. Also, we hope to be able to draw attention to the larger national tourism industry by reaching more people, so we would like help promoting Sri Lanka as a adventure travel destination.
What trends do you see taking place in Sri Lanka Tourism and where do most of your traveler’s originate from?
There is certainly an increased interest in Sri Lanka as a destination in general. Moreover, the interest in Eco/Adventure/Nature based tourism experiences are seeing an upward trend. Most of our travelers are from the UK & the European continent, but India as well as the Middle Eastern regions have shown growth recently.
What does Sri Lanka offer that no other destination does? What message or image would you like to convey about Sri Lanka to global tour operators and travelers?
As mentioned before, we are a small country in terms of land area. Were you to travel by air, you could reach any destination in between 30 minutes to 1 hour. However, we are one of the top Bio-Diversity Hot Spots in the world. This diversity is supported by an equally unique level of diversity in terrain for adventure sports by water or land. The country has a green cover of over 20%. W There are ruins of ancient kingdoms in our recorded history of 2500 years, and Blend this with a cultural element, one would have a wholesome experience in Sri Lanka.