Is Ecotourism Sustainable? A Case Study from Sri Lanka

  • Rathnayake Mudiyanselage Wasantha Rathnayake


Ecotourism, according to standard definitions, belongs in the sustainable tourism category. Not only is the concept of ecotourism now a buzzword, it is also a widely practiced concept around the world with managers of natural areas increasingly involved in the practice of ecotourism. The present study assesses the existing ecotourism practices found at the Pitawala Patana Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka using three criteria: responsible travel to natural areas, contribution to environmental conservation, and sustainment of the well-being of the local community. The study used a questionnaire survey and Participatory Rural Appraisal techniques for this assessment which reveal that ecotourism practices at the Pitawala Patana Forest Reserve currently constitute 52.54 percent overall of its practices, although benefits to the local community were not at a satisfactory level. The results indicate that visitors wish to experience new ecotourism-related activities, while the local community are interested in involvement in ecotourism at Pitawala Patana. Ecotourism concession development is a key policy decision that the study recommends that policy makers should take in order to ensure the well-being of the local community although this would entail some challenges. The findings suggest the need to develop and institute new rules, regulations, and standards for the operation of ecotourism at the Pitawala Patana Forest Reserve.


Ecotourism Sustainability Well-being of the local community Responsible travel 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rathnayake Mudiyanselage Wasantha Rathnayake
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Management StudiesSabaragamuwa University of Sri LankaBelihuloyaSri Lanka

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