Friday, January 29, 2016

Sustainable Tourism – not if the current mob are left in charge!

Following on from my previous blog entry, on using Sri Lanka Wildlife as one aspect of our attraction to tourism, there is NO PROPER COORDINATION between Tourism and Wildlife in order than the Tourist Experience is maximized and is built on a firm foundation for growth.

Sri Lanka Wildlife, could and must sell itself, and instead it is being sold down the toilet. Foreigners and Locals go through the same ticket counter, but pay rates that are 25 times as much as a local pays. I know the tour party includes the usual two locals, being the tracker and driver, but they should NOT have to wait hours to get in. The maximum acceptable time is 15 minute wait, and there HAS TO BE an accounting of that to know how the service provider is doing in each of the National Parks, so the park Warden can make the necessary changes.

Then there is the maximum holding capacity of a park for optimum enjoyment of the Tourist and of least irritation to the animal or bird, who they come to see! When that is exceeded the Park closes. In order NOT to disappoint, there is a definite supply and demand issue to enter, market forces must take over, where passes for particular days are sold in advance for a premium, which should be the same cost for a local or tourist and that is for a vehicle.

No doubt, the Safari Jeep companies may buy all these in advance NOT permitting anyone else to get in, and then charge an exorbitant rate for the Tourist, (foreign or local) to use their services to enter the park, and no one else has the pass to enter. That is actually a problem that must be addressed to get at a fair solution, but where the Park and not the Company make the financial benefit from this supply demand imbalance.

Then we MUST have sufficient Park Rangers to accompany and if rationed like this, I believe there has to be one per vehicle, so that all rules inside the park can be obeyed. Currently, due to shortages of Rangers in most parks, five vehicle convoys are assigned to one ranger, an impossible task. THE RANGER IS THE CAPTIAN OF THE SHIP not the Jeep driver! Only then will speed limits and noise pollution be controlled.

The Safari Jeep Mafia is extremely powerful, especially in Yala and it is detrimental both to the animal, and the tourist experience. This is something that needs immediate addressing, as previously political patronage, made it very difficult for the Park Warden who should be the King of his Park, enforce rules to protect both Tourist and Animal, and maximize the unique experience of that park. At present the only measure is Park Daily Revenue, not the sustainability of the Park or the Wildlife who reside in it, who should take priority.  

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