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Scientific marine tourism: how ready are we?

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Sri Lanka’s potential for ‘eco and science-based marine tourism’, though immense, has still not been properly tapped. To promote this unconventional tourism product, sustainable environmental practices are fundamental. We spoke to several stakeholders who moot collaborative efforts and community participation in making these best practices a reality.

*The highly diverse Lankan coastline abundant with natural resources is now showing obvious evidence of degradation and destruction.

*The pandemic has made things worse by adding disposable facemasks to the growing plastic menace

*The ‘polluter pays’ principle which is strictly applied in developed parts of the world is grossly neglected here

*Sustainable environmental practices can reflect very positively on the overall branding of the country

BY RANDIMA ATTYGALLE

Face masks piled up on the beach and empty plastic bottles entangled in a coral reef do not fit into the idyllic picture a tourist will envisage of our island. We have been taking our coastline of 1,620 km, abundant with golden dunes, coconut groves and a lot more enabling livelihoods for millions, for granted. The highly diverse Lankan coastline abundant with natural resources is now showing obvious evidence of degradation and destruction.

Our coastal belt with its enormous capacity for tourism is largely threatened by coastal pollution, unethical fishing practices and climate change, says the Former Head of Department of Oceanography, University of Ruhuna and former GM of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), Prof. Terney Pradeep Kumara. “The need to have sustainable management of the coastal belt is urgent. While more than 11 million of people live in coastal districts, nearly 62% of local industries are also located in this zone. If we are to attract high end tourists whose revenue matters to the country, we need to act now in managing our coastal resources.”

Sri Lanka’s potential for ‘eco and science-based tourism’, though enormous, has still not been properly understood or tapped, says Prof. Terney. He explains that sustainable environmental practices are fundamental to promote this modern tourism product. “Given our highly diverse ecosystems and our orientation in the Indian Ocean, our marine heritage-both natural and archaeological, is very rich. Corals, for example, can only not determine events of the past such as volcanic eruptions, rising sea levels, mass flooding etc. but they can also predict the same. If we look at pollen, larvae and cysts of different organisms, they can say how ecologically we are connected through genetic matter, animal migration etc. Then we have several shipwrecks which form part of our marine heritage. They are historically important not only to us but to the whole world showing evidence of trade relations and technological evolution and exchange of sea fare. To sustain all of this, coastal management is a must.”

The ocean expert alludes to best practices in South Africa, Australia and the Maldives where tourism goes beyond leisure and makes it a learning experience as well and thereby diversifies the tourism industry. “The reach for scientific eco-tourism is vast and if we market our resources along those lines, going beyond the region, we can attract a sizable segment from Russia, Europe and Canada as well.”

High level multi-sectoral collaborations are proposed by Prof. Terney to address the challenges to sustainable coastal management strategies. Having technical staff equipped with sound scientific knowledge and experience on the boards of SLTDA and SLTPB which are responsible for tourism promotion, equipping hotels with professionals who could empower tourists, enhancing field-based manpower, collating research-based data scattered among various agencies, regulating diving centres (some of which support illegal activities such as spear fishing among tourists) and giving more teeth to the existing environmental and coastal protection laws and increasing the legal literacy among tour guides and local communities are among some of his proposals.

The plastic waste generation here at home is alarming, warns Prof. Terney. “A considerable amount of plastic waste is generated here and a good majority of it ends up in the sea threatening marine life. The pandemic has made things worse by adding disposable facemasks to the growing plastic menace.” The ‘polluter pays’ principle which is strictly applied in developed parts of the world by multi-nationals is grossly neglected in our part of the world, charges the scholar. “Compared to their business scale, the amount these multinationals spend to recover the environment in developing and underdeveloped countries is a pittance,” observes Prof. Terney. The absence of a system of collecting all waste as in the case of Singapore, one of the best Asian models, makes Lankans selfish and also lackluster towards the environment, he goes on to say.

Citing the recent oil spillage catastrophe in our seas of which the environmental damage is yet to be quantified, Prof. Terney calls for urgent amendments to the current laws, some of which have ‘grey areas’. He also moots modern standards and beach certification programmes such as Blue Flag (the world’s most recognized voluntary awards for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators) and other leading standards for sustainable marine tourism practices such as Green Fins and Green Key.

Most well-seasoned travelers look for countries and organizations which practice sustainability before selecting their destination and therefore the impact of sustainable environmental practices on high-end tourism cannot be undermined, says, Chairman, Jetwing Symphony PLC and the Chair of the Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Tourism, Hiran Cooray. “Sustainable environmental practices can reflect very positively on the overall branding of a country and unethical practices can obviously hurt us,” says the hospitality leader who cites the example of Boracay in Philippines where the destination had to be closed for almost a year to get it cleaned up. “If our beaches and rivers get inundated with plastic waste and other pollutants, no one will get close to them and automatically we will be out of business.”

The well traveled hotelier explains that New Zealand is a fine example of a destination branded as ‘100% pure’. “They walk the talk by setting very high standards of environmental protection and awareness among people.” Education is the key to sustainable practices, remarks Cooray who goes on to note that there are no quick solutions but the only way is to believe in clean cities and villages and work hard collectively to educate the masses.

Protection of tourism assets and involving the community in conservation and revenue sharing are the two most important lessons Sri Lanka can learn from other Asian counterparts such as the Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines- countries which generate millions of dollars annually from marine tourism, points out techdiver, underwater explorer and photographer Dharshana Jayawardena. Questioning the logic of promoting tourism while it is exploited illegally, Jayawardena charges that in certain areas of the country, usage of illegal fishing nets, dynamite fishing and spear fishing is taking its toll decimating the marine ecosystem. “For instance, the wreck and the corals of the World War II SS British Sergeant are destroyed by dynamite fishing regularly and in Unawatuna dive operators complain that while they are showing marine life to SCUBA divers, a few dive centers break the rules and engage in illegal spearfishing shocking the tourists they are guiding. Both dynamite fishing and spearfishing is illegal in Sri Lanka but still happens rampantly.”

‘Over tourism’, as the explorer explains, can also destroy tourism assets. “In other countries, there is a daily limit to the number of tourists who can visit the national parks, ensuring that the marine eco system has a respite. Pigeon Island National Park of ours which is suffering from overcrowding and pollution can benefit from a model like this.”

In a lot of Asian countries, most of the revenue earned by a tourism asset directly goes back to the community surrounding the asset. People in the area are involved in providing services as well as earning a majority of revenue from the park fee which goes to community development in the area. “This provides a strong incentive for the community towards conservation and protection of the tourism assets as they benefit most from it. It can also be thought of a redirection of tax revenue made from tourism businesses in the area are directly reinvested back to provide better quality of life to people in the area and the tourists, instead of the money disappearing forever in the treasury,” maintains Jayawardena.

Rasika Muthucumarana, Maritime Archaeologist from the Maritime Archaeology Unit of the Central Cultural Fund in Galle says that marine pollution expedites the deterioration of wrecks and artefacts resulting from chemical reactions. “The inland waste flowing through rivers and canals ultimately end up in the ocean at a huge cost. Pollution also distracts marine life from wrecks. Shipwreck diving is a popular form of marine tourism and environmental hazards, largely due to plastic pollution can discourage potential tourists,” says Muthucumarana. The marine pollution resulting in unclean waters and lower visibility could affect divers. “There are also hazards posed by ‘ghost nets’ entangled in wrecks and corals. Marine pollution also places the divers at increased health risks,” notes the maritime archaeologist who calls for higher penalties and fines for polluters.



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The return of the mighty mini

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The mini-dress has a new lease of life – but why now?

It’s an old cliché that when the stock market goes up, so do hemlines. So why, given 2019’s tempestuous social, political and economic climate, are we in the throes of a miniskirt revival?

With skirts being styled with everything from neat tweed jackets to oversized skater hoodies, it is a distinct change in pace for the hard-edged androgyny of recent years, says Celenie Seidel, senior womenswear editor at luxury-fashion platform Farfetch: “Women are revisiting a more exuberant, playful and optimistic way of dressing again, and the miniskirt revival is a big part of that.”

Beyond the catwalks, UK chain Marks & Spencer reported that it sold 300,000 miniskirts over the winter – in no small part due to brand ambassador and TV presenter Holly Willoughby’s predilection for minis. The miniskirt is the “dominant skirt silhouette” sold by online retailers, and currently accounting for 45% of skirt sales in the UK, says Kalya Marci, market analyst at retail consultancy Edited. Marci adds that searches for miniskirts have increased more than 50% in the past three months compared with the same period last year.

An understanding of the miniskirt’s place in fashion history gives some context to its surge in popularity today. The social and cultural impact of the mini forms a major theme in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Mary Quant retrospective, which runs until 16 February 2020.

We have reached the point where our hemlines are free to be as macro or micro as they please

Opinions differ on who invented the abbreviated garment – Cristóbal Balenciaga, Mary Quant and André Courrèges have all been credited. What is undeniable is that the miniskirt’s launch-pad was 1960s Swinging London, and it was local designer Quant who took the garment beyond the rarefied world of high fashion.

“The miniskirt came to symbolise freedom, empowerment and an increased confidence for the younger generation, who refused to conform and follow the stifling rules of their mother’s generation,” V&A curator Stephanie Wood tells BBC Designed. It also came to embody the broader social and cultural freedoms being fought for and gradually experienced by many women during the 1960s, she adds, “as more women entered the workforce, gaining their own independent wealth, and women began to gain more autonomy over their own bodies with the introduction of the contraceptive pill.”

Over the decades, the miniskirt has been subject to criticism by some feminist campaigners, and associated with an over-sexualised female stereotype. The current revival counters the recent gravitation towards more “modest” dressing, which has favoured longer lengths and looser silhouettes. The simple explanation is the cyclical nature of fashion trends: as midi and maxi lengths hit the mainstream, early adopters seek out something new.

Symbol of defiance

Meanwhile in 2019, we have reached the point where our hemlines are free to be as macro or micro as they please – but in the #MeToo era, when women’s bodies are increasingly politicised, the miniskirt is once again a symbol of defiance. “Fashion has a long history of representing political and social ideas, specifically because fashion is a powerful and very visible form of communication”, says Wood. “Perhaps the renaissance of the miniskirt can be linked with women feeling the need to reclaim their own bodies”.

While the miniskirts of the 1960s were a defining part of social shifts triggered by the so-called teenage “youthquake”, in 2019 it is notable that the trend has no upper-age limit. The Instagram feeds of Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Rihanna are peppered with miniskirts, but the garment is also favoured by high-profile women in their 40s and beyond, such as Kate Moss, Chloë Sevigny, the Spice Girl Emma Bunton and Quant herself.

‘Sexy’, skin-baring items like the miniskirt have found new context – Alice Gividen

When it comes to ageism, fashion’s tectonic plates are shifting: Christy Turlington, 50, closed the show for Marc Jacobs at his New York Fashion Week show in February; Patti Hansen, 63, was the star model at Michael Kors. Simone Rocha cast several 40-something women in her London show including 1980s favourite Jeny Howorth, and Marie Sophie Wilson. Yasmin Le Bon, 54, declared earlier this year that she wears miniskirts more in her 50s than she did in her 20s or 30s.

“There’s a new narrative building around traditional, feminine items,” agrees Alice Gividen, fashion and beauty editor at trend consultancy WGSN. “‘Sexy’, skin-baring items like the miniskirt have found new context in a time where we can celebrate femininity and sexuality, in line with ‘fourth-wave’ feminism, and with the goal of simply dressing up for ourselves.”

Mary Quant sponsored by King’s Road is at the V&A, London, until 16 February 2020 (BBC)

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Why is jewellry important in fashion?

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Jewellery has the ability to add beauty and style to you and whatever ensemble you are wearing. Whether it is costume jewellry or fine jewellery it is the wearer’s delight as it further highlights their personality with the look that it adds to your ensemble. You’re all dressed up and on your way out when you glance in the mirror and realize… something is missing. The outfit is flawless and the shoes are perfect, and then you spot it: A gorgeous bib necklace will make you look even better in that dress! Whether you’re on a date with someone sweet or dressing to impress a potential boss, you can use statement je ellery to transform your wardrobe.

“Jewellery has the power to be the one little thing that makes you feel unique.” — Elizabeth Taylor

The human love affair with all things sparkly has a long history Jewellery has always made a fashion statement.

Some of the earliest statement jewellery was found in Egypt. Collar necklaces, dangling earrings, and thick, cylindrical rings were all prevalent in Egyptian jewellery boxes.

The Romans loved their jewels too, but they preferred rings. These rings were made with heavy stones for winter and lighter, more delicate materials for the summer. Regardless of composition, the important characteristic of Roman jewellery was history, not value. As is the case today, in ancient Rome, a bauble could be priced higher if it had an illustrious history behind it.

Coco Chanel began creating her own elaborate jewellery in the 1920s, using crystal or coloured glass in varying sizes as the Egyptians had. Coco is often credited with popularizing the concept of “costume jewellery,” creating seasonal items that mixed real and imitation stones and pearls.

Vivenne Becker, an antique jewellery veteran, talks about “The Cocktail Style” in her book, Fabulous Costume Jewellery: History of Fantasy and Fashion in Jewels. Popular during the ’30s and ’40s, this jewellery era was all about big, jewellered rings, multi-strand pearl necklaces, and extensive use of gilt metal and rose gold. She describes “cocktail jewellery” as “bubbly and extravagant, like the alcoholic concoctions from which it took its name. It was assertive, bossy, jewellery to show off in.”

While making a statement in the ’50s meant throwing on a charm bracelet, jewellery in the ’60s had a bit more punch. Designer Paco Rabanne fully embraced statement jewellery, experimenting with cheap materials like plastic and PVC and using bright colours. He said, “I made jewellery for the alternative side of women’s personality, for their madness.”

It’s a crime to talk about statement jewellery without discussing the woman whose accessories always have something to say: Madeleine Albright. In her book, she tells the stories behind some of her favourite pins. In one tale, she recalls the first pin she wore to send an intentional political message. The pin was a gold snake wrapped around a branch, which she wore after being referred to as an “unparalleled serpent” by the Iraqi press. Dr. Albright still enjoys collecting pins, though she mentions she receives many as gifts

Modern day statement jewellery is big, bold, and full of many elements from previous decades. Today, we love pieces that incorporate the glitz and glam of the ’30s and ’40s, and the colours and materials of the ’60s. Most of all, we love statement jewellery’s eternal ability to make heads turn.

Fashion trends constantly evolve, but jewellery steadfastly remains an accessory that women turn to. Nothing can make an ensemble shine quite like jewellery can. It also makes the perfect statement for self-expression.

Jewellery changes the way your outfit ‘works’. Whether you wear an extravagant ring, or a simple necklace, a statement bracelet or subtle stud earrings, your choice of jewellery has the power to elevate your look to a whole new concept. In fact, fashion designers and jewellers have long since been working together to create various styles. Also, gemstones are no longer simply embellishments – they are pieces of art. Jewellery is definitely a big part of fashion. Here are some reasons why:

New look every day

Love your white shirt and end up wearing it too often? That’s ok! Make it look different each time with different jewellery! For a formal look, pair it with gold studs or drop earrings; for a Boho look throw on some chunky bangles and stack rings, or look casual and laid-back with tassel and pom pom earrings. You can also wear your pieces to match your mood.

Sparks conversations

Certain pieces are called conversation starters for a reason. Bold or quirky, intricate or chunky, such pieces of jewellery naturally draw attention and spark friendly discussions.

Accentuates your personality

Jewellery is a great way to express yourself, so select pieces that match your personal style and personality. It also allows your creativity and individualism to shine through and speak for themselves.

The biggest question probably is, how to choose jewellery that will complement your look, your mood and your personality. Also, how to style the pieces so they will enhance your wardrobe. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you dazzle!

Jewellery styling tips

. Define the focus of your look: jewellery or clothing?

When you start dressing, decide on this first. A simple outfit can be transformed into something spectacular with the right jewellery, or a statement piece. If the focus is on your clothing and it is bold, then choose small, subtle pieces as highlights, such as the Bliss solo stone bracelet with a mother of pearl.

Layer and stack

Experiment with layering your necklaces and stacking your earrings, rings and bangles! Mixing different lengths, shapes, textures and colours and seeing what works is a lot of fun! Layering necklaces of differing lengths can bring focus to your face. You can also stack rings in different gemstone colours or combine ear cuffs with hoops for an interesting look. Mixing your jewellery on your wrist can create a friendly jangle as you move your arm.

Experiment with mixing metals

Wearing a silver necklace? You don’t have to pair it with other silver jewellery as a rule. Contrast your pendant colour with its chain, or stack rings with different metal or gemstone colours. Try the same with your bangles and bracelets. If it looks good and makes you feel confident, just go with it!

Don’t follow trends blindly

Evolve your own style. Whatever accessory you choose, own it, flaunt it, be confident wearing it. Pick jewellery that suits your style, looks good on you and complements your colouring, and mostly, your personality.

Don’t overdo it

When you’re enthusiastic about jewellery, it’s easy to sometimes over-accessorise. So just watch out to make sure you’re not cluttering your look with excess. For instance, if you’re drawing attention to your neckline with a statement choker or layered necklace, don’t stack too many bracelets that compete for attention. Or, if you’re wearing bold pendant earrings, then a simple, matching necklace should be enough – or even no necklace.

How to match jewellery with your outfit

If you’ve ever been stuck wondering what jewellery to pair with which outfit, then this is for you! Just go with these handy hints:

Selecting jewellery

Consider where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, when selecting your jewellery If you’re dressing up for work and will be using your keyboard most of the day, avoid jangling bangles and hanging bracelets. Wear the longer, dressier earrings for formal events and parties and the more flamboyant pieces for casual outings.

Choose jewellery that

complements your skin tone

Jewellery is a great way to highlight your skin tone. Warm skin tones go well with yellow so gold is a good choice. Silver and white gold illuminate natural tones.

Pair busy patterns with

simple jewellery

You get a confused, gaudy look when you marry a busy print with loud, ornate jewellery.

Instead, consider simple, solid pieces.

Highlight your face with

earrings

If you want the spotlight on your face, then don a pair of statement earrings. Go for the flashy, glittering ones that make your eyes sparkle! Also, consider the shape of your face when choosing your earrings. For instance, studs and triangular earrings look best on an oval face.

– ToI

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From runways to red carpets, clogs are making a major comeback

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In case you haven’t noticed, clogs are having a moment – and we’re here for it. These ’90s “it shoes” have been popping up everywhere, from runways (Alaïa, Givenchy and Gucci to name a few), to social media, and even on the red carpet (Justin Bieber wore the Balenciaga Hardcrocs to the Grammy’s.) Although they may seem like a relic of the past, the folkloric footwear have been reimagined time and again with modern twists. This time around, designers chose rubber materials, unconventional colours and cozy textures as some of the ways to update the traditional style.

Even if your aesthetic isn’t all about the ’90s, clogs make the perfect shoes for any occasion they’re stylish and comfortable enough to wear all day long and easy to slide on and off. But they also add an interesting element to jazz up your outfits as the new season starts.

Whether you choose to pair them with a flowery dress or a pair of oversized jeans, there’s something about the quirky slip-ons that people can’t get enough of.

Clogs have emerged as one of the top footwear choices for pandemic living. They function like a slipper (comfortable and easy to get into), but with elevated style (and height) — and soles sturdy enough to wear for hours.

Doctors and nurses rely on them for long shifts, as do chefs and anyone else who stands at work all day.

They look cool, giving off equal parts art teacher, with-it parent, and fashionable ceramicist. Clogs are popular from the stylish ones worn by famous people to the hippie-ish ones preferred by men.

If you’ve seen a celebrity in clogs, chances are those clogs were from No.6. It’s the brand worn by Claire Danes, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Maya Rudolph, who wore several pairs in her Amazon show Forever.

Although No.6 clogs are no longer trendy, they’re not passé either. The brand has become so ubiquitous they’re practically canonized. Its clogs come in a bunch of different styles, including sexy high heels, flat heels and come in different colours and patterns .– Hello

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