Another "Integrating Business Skills into Ecotourism Operations" training workshop was organised in October 2013, this time in Sri Lanka. The workshop brought together 30 participants from conservation organisations, including IUCN members, to learn and share about ecotourism development in Sri Lanka.
The classroom element of the workshop took place in Jetwing Lagoon in Negombo, a hotel that praised for its sustainability efforts. The instructors, affiliated to Kuoni and Whittall, are renowed names in the tourism industry who lended their expertise on a diversity of topics including business planning, health and safety and marketing (for more information see the documents on the right pane of this page). The classroom element of the workshop was complemented by a field visit to ecotourism projects developed by some of the participants in Kalpitiya and Chilaw (North of Negombo): the Semuthu Fisheries Society, the Coconut Villa homestay and the Sri Lanka Small Fishes Federation.
In the last day of the workshop participants discussed additional needs for getting their businesses to the market. Whittall also offered to provide one-to-one feedback to participating organizations that submitted a presentation about their products.
As a result of these discussions, 10 of the organizations sent presentations to Whittall and 5 have presented their businesses and received feedback. These 5 are also in the process of receiving additional support on Health & Safety and website design. Discussion with Whittall are also ongoing for integrating some of the products into their product offer.
In addition to the business to business support offered by Whittall, IUCN Sri Lanka organized a follow up training for workshop participants and other organizations working on ecotourism focused on nature and heritage interpretation. This workshop took place from 23-26 June in Laya Resort Kukuleganga and Sinharaja World Heritage Site. To read the summary report for the workshop, click here.