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Experts explore what sets Sri Lanka apart as a tourist destination

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Conservation Tourism Webinar

The Conservation Tourism webinar series organised by Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance was held last month, to explore the topic of ‘Wildlife and Nature Conservation, as it applies to the Future Sustainability of Sri Lanka’s Tourism Industry’.

The webinar attracted a record number of virtual attendees and featured an eminent panel of speakers. The session was introduced by Co-Chair of the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance, Malik J Fernando, and moderated by Niranga Gunaratna, Director of Communications at Shangri-La Colombo & Shangri-La Hambantota.

The speakers touched on important elements such as what sets Sri Lanka apart as a tourist destination and the economic value of Sri Lanka’s nature and wildlife to the visitor economy. It was clearly established that our biodiversity was the main attraction for tourists. The webinar went on to discuss major challenges faced by Sri Lanka’s nature and wildlife and the consequences to local tourism. The speakers expounded how the tourism industry could bring about conservation outcomes, that would also be beneficial to their own bottom line.

Srilal Miththapala, Past President of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) emphasized that wildlife is a critical component of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and that in 2018, out of the 2.2 million tourists who visited Sri Lanka, 50% had visited Sri Lanka’s wildlife parks. He also spoke of how he tried to “awaken” people to the value of Sri Lanka’s wildlife by assigning economic value to this natural resource, especially for wild elephants. Sadly, Sri Lanka whilst being one of the best countries to see them in the wild, is also the country with the worst human-elephant conflict (HEC) in the world. On average over 300 elephants are killed in Sri Lanka annually due to HEC.

Toby Sinclair, Director of &Beyond Asia has over 40 years’ experience in Sri Lanka and with his international lens on tourism, he stated how a couple of decades ago Sri Lanka was certainly the best place to see leopards and elephants in the wild but because the country has chosen “quantity over quality”, the quality of those experiences has declined over time. “Driving in Yala has become like driving down Galle Road at 5 o’clock in the evening,” he said. Mismanagement of our wildlife resources, lack of training for wildlife park guides and jeep drivers and not improving the standard of the visitor experience are keeping Sri Lanka from becoming a successful wildlife tourism destination. “The potential of Sri Lanka is enormous. I am optimistic but I am very concerned that we are going to kill the golden-goose”.

Dr Sumith Pilapitiya, Former Director General of Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) highlighted that “Sri Lanka has the ‘potential’ to be the best wildlife tourism destination outside Africa”, however despite being blessed with every natural resource, it is unlikely that we will reach that potential, as the country lacks strategic direction. Rather we are destroying that potential by destroying our nature and wildlife. He went on to say that the private tourism sector should be doing much more, to work with the government in order to strategically develop the sector by protecting its natural resources, rather than sit complacent while they focus on reaping the benefits of Sri Lanka’s unique biodiversity today. “If Sri Lanka is to reach its potential as the best wildlife tourism destination outside of Africa, the private tourism sector has to play a significant role to make that happen”.



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Sri Lanka Insurance holds “Minimuthulanthaya” for Children’s Day 2021

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Sri Lanka Insurance holds “Minimuthulanthaya” an exclusive series of informative and entertaining sessions for children and their parents commemorating the World Children’s Day 2021. The programme was held from 01st to 3rd of October 2021 via Sri Lanka Insurance official Facebook page attracting thousands of enthusiastic children across the country.

The programme was conducted with the support of Sri Lanka Insurance Minimuthu Education Plans to inspire the younger generation to achieve their dreams. The Minimuthu Education Plan provides financial assistance for children to pursue their dreams setting a strong foundation for child’s future.

The first session of the series “Super Parents”, an informative discussion on child education, mental health and nutrition was held for parents on 1st of October with the participation of Ms.Christine Jayakody Psychologist, Mr.Upali Ginasekara former Principal of Royal College Colombo and Principal of Polymath College, Dr.Sujeewa Wickramasinghe Nutritionist and Mr.Amintha De Silva Visionary Guru. The programme was well received by parents participated and the programme was followed by a Q & A session where many important issues were discussed regarding the education, health and wellness of children.

The other sessions of Minimuthulanthaya was held during the weekend allowing children as well as their parents to enjoy a quality time together. “The Artist” session and “The Entertainer” session was conducted live in both Sinhala and Tamil mediums teaching and allowing children to express their talents in drawing and creativeness.

The Mastermind session was conducted to interact with masterminds with knowledge about mathematics, science, history, general knowledge and various other fields.

The Computer Wizard session was the main attraction of the whole series as many kids with avid interest towards computer programming joined the session to learn programming.

The sessions were concluded asking the participants to submit their own creative work to stand a chance to win valuable gifts from Sri Lanka Insurance and is receiving tremendous response in return.

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BoardPAC certified one of Asia’s Best Workplaces by Great Place to Work

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BoardPAC Chief Operating Officer Mr Rajitha Kuruppumulle (right) and Head of Operations & Systems Mr Buddhika Abeygooneratne with the Great Places to Work award and certificate

BoardPAC, the Sri Lanka-based multinational board meeting automation solutions company, reached another milestone recently when it was featured for the first time in the prestigious Best Workplaces in Asia 2021 list – Small and Medium category, published by Great Place to Work.

A company news release said this recognition came hot on the heels of BoardPAC being certified as a ‘Great Workplace’ by Great Place to Work in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year in 2021.

“The internationally acclaimed list follows strict criteria in acknowledging the best of the best in terms of workplaces in the Asia region. BoardPAC’s recognition is based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in an anonymous survey and a culture assessment conducted by the Great Place to Work organisation, and upon having achieved the globally accredited cut-off scores,” the release added..

Commenting on being placed on this esteemed list, BoardPAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Lakmini Wijesundera stated: “We are honored to be selected into the Asia’s Best Workplaces List. Our team’s happiness is key to our success. The well-crafted GPTW Survey helps us with an accurate analysis of employees’ sentiments. The emphasis by GPTW on Trust, Pride, Camaraderie, and Care has been valuable in our efforts to improve continuously. GPTW has become a hallmark of our positive work culture. A big thank you to our team for the contribution to this great culture.”

Great Place to Work provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognise outstanding workplace cultures, and is the global authority on high-trust and high-performance workplace cultures. This process is carried out via proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programmes, including a list of best workplaces and workplace reviews. The Best Workplaces in Asia 2021 list can be viewed at

BoardPAC is recognised for driving simple, secure, sustainable, and experiential communications for Board and Executive members. BoardPAC serves a host of fortune 500 companies worldwide, with over 50,000 users globally and a presence in over 40 countries.

Leading Indian corporations such as the Bombay Stock Exchange, Power Grid Corporation of India, IDBI Bank, Container Corporation of India, and LIC Housing Finance Limited are already users of BoardPAC. It has also been deployed by some of the strongest brands across the world such as the Axiata Group of companies, Deloitte and Maxis among others. BoardPAC clientele span the largest banks and sector leaders in the Asia Pacific region such as Prudential, Petronas, Maybank, Hong Leong Group, MSIG, BSN, Bumi Armada, RHB Banking Group, Affin Bank, and Bursa Malaysia – the stock exchange of Malaysia.

In Sri Lanka over 150 of the top corporate entities including John Keells, SriLankan Airlines, MAS Holdings, Bank of Ceylon, Commercial Bank, Hemas, Carsons, Softlogic, Sri Lanka Telecom, Sampath Bank, National Savings Bank, Nations Trust Bank and Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka as well as the SEC and Colombo Stock Exchange use BoardPAC.

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UN-recognized pioneer leads Hayley’s Fabric’s greening thrust

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Leonie Vaas, a chemical engineer who’s the Manager of Sustainability and Innovation at Hayley’s Fabrics made history last June when she was selected from thousands across the globe to be designated as one of just 10 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Pioneers by the United Nations (UN) Global Compact for 2021.

With an extensive range of experience in green house gas (GHG) reduction and ensuring carbon neutrality, life cycle perspective of products, plant and process improvements with sustainable technologies and textile chemical management, Leonie has paved the path for local sustainability champions to be recognized on a global platform, a news release from Hayley’s Fabrics said.

She primarily focuses on five key areas at Hayleys Fabric, including driving efforts in reducing GHG emissions, water preservation, improving efficiency with sustainable solutions for effluent treatment plants, building and training sustainability teams, as well as developing and applying new processes for ‘better and greener’ products, the release said.

Sustainable business starts with a sustainable culture

“I’ve always had a passion for the environment, and so from the start, I gravitated towards work in sustainability. Once I joined Hayleys Fabric, I was challenged and supported to link sustainability with innovation properly. Here, the opportunity to have a continuous learning experience, to be at the very forefront of sustainable innovation and part of shaping a greener future – is tremendous.

“We have a strong leadership commitment that all employees evenly match, and ultimately, that culture and enthusiasm to take the lead on sustainability are what drives our success. Sustainability at its core is driven by the higher management and we were able to come this far with the support and guidance of our CEO and Managing Director Rohan Goonetilleke. Because of this unique dynamic, we were able to rapidly commercialise our sustainable innovations, which gave me a chance to showcase what Hayleys and Sri Lanka have to offer the world. When you build the right culture, everything else flows from there,” Vaas said.

A team committed to sustainable innovation

True sustainability is about more than a single innovation. Leonie cites a host of extraordinary initiatives implemented by the Hayleys Fabric team collectively aimed at securing global leadership in sustainable textile manufacturing.

“We treat 100% of the water used for production to maintain strict compliance with certified and audited commitments on Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals. This standard is recognised globally, beyond Sri Lanka’s strict national regulations,” Leonie noted.

As a signatory to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming at 1.5°C, Hayleys Fabric has already cut its carbon footprint by 15%. This was achieved by installing the largest private sector rooftop solar power system in Sri Lanka at the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Horana. With 9,000 solar panels installed across 18,000 square metres, the system has contributed 4.5 Mw to the National Grid since June 2021.

Leonie finds the company’s future focus on re-engineering its value chain truly inspirational. “Our team is looking at substituting production supplies with recycled polyester, organic cotton, and other bio-degradable materials as well as augmenting production capabilities to create textiles from yarn comprised of recycled plastic.”

The innovation team recently launched an app to enable end-to-end traceability for its recycled PET fabrics, mostly supplied locally to Sri Lanka’s largest apparel manufacturers. This will allow local producers and global retailers to tag individual pieces of clothing with a QR code, which customers can scan to learn exactly how many discarded PET bottles were used to create the item and exactly which part of Sri Lanka, the bottles were collected from.

Hayleys Fabric also connects employees with key sustainability issues through culture building, webinars, and training and awareness building workshops.

“Keeping key issues like waste segregation, pollution, and energy efficiency top of mind, ensures that the entire workforce stays engaged with the company’s quest to become a global leader in sustainable textile production. As local leaders, we must always continue to find ways to become global pioneers.”

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