Sri Lanka Tourism links with CITES and industry stakeholders to promote Responsible Wildlife Tourism

The Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, will be hosting a lecture by John E. Scanlon, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), on 25 January at Galle Face Hotel.

The Secretary-General has arrived on the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena to attend the destruction of blood Ivory event at the Galle Face Green on 26 January on International Customs Day. Sri Lanka Customs in May 2012 seized a stockpile of African elephant tasks (blood ivory) which was being smuggled out of Kenya and was on its way to the international markets via the Port of Colombo. The Customs, after a formal inquiry, confiscated the entire shipment, pending destruction of the ivory in public as per international law.

Accordingly, the event will take place at the Galle Face Green under the patronage of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe with the participation of the Diplomatic Corps and the public. The event is expected to draw international attention and Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to showcase local perspectives on wildlife through art at this event where dozens of painters and sculptors will portray the wildlife of Sri Lanka.

Having the highest biodiversity per 10,000 square km in Asia, Sri Lanka is one of the 25 biodiversity hot spots of the world. Whilst Sri Lanka Tourism is focused on growing wildlife-related tourism, it is important to identify and avoid threats to this industry.

The lecture hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is seen as a valuable opportunity to highlight the importance of conserving our fauna and flora and adopting a zero tolerance policy on illegal wildlife trade. The event will also further highlight the collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife to strengthen the country›s tourism offerings in a responsible manner.

«Wildlife is an integral part of our tourism product. Sri Lanka›s rich wildlife, flora and fauna must be protected to ensure the sustainability of our national tourism venture. My ministry will spare no efforts in ensuring the protection of our wildlife through sustainable tourism. The event at Galle Face sends a clear message to the rest of the world about Sri Lanka›s zero tolerance of the ivory trade,» said Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga.

See more at: FT


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