Latest Travel & Tourism News

Heritage Expediciones secures Travelife Certified status on sustainability

The Travelife for Tour Operators Certification Committee has decided positively regarding the sustainability certification of Heritage Expediciones on the basis of the Travelife Certified standard for tour operators.

Reaching the Travelife Certified status means that the company is compliant with over 200 criteria concerning sustainability in a tour operator’s office management, product range, international business partners and customer information.

The Travelife standard has integrated the EMAS III environmental management and tourism sector specific requirements, the ISO 26000 Social Responsibility guidance and themes, the Global Reporting Initiative Tour operator sector supplement, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Industry Criteria.

Heritage Expediciones is looking forward to inspiring other companies from Sri Lanka to embrace sustainability and contribute to a more sustainable future of the tourism and travel industry. All management and performance requirements were met and exceeded in order for Heritage Expediciones to earn this title of Travelife Certified.

A spokesperson for Heritage Expediciones said: “It was a team effort and the company appreciates the effort put in by everybody. We reached the Partner Level in October 2019 and reaching the Certified Level is for a further two-year period. We faced many obstacles along the way the main being the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the economic crisis hence the Travelife Certified status achievement is significant.”

(26 October 2022)Read more.

Sri Lanka Tourism Lures Digital Nomads

Sri Lanka was recently recognised as one of the top destinations for Digital Nomads, emerging second in Club Med’s index of the best places and countries around the world to become a Digital Nomad. Club Med collected and assessed data in line with the growing demand for the nomadic lifestyles which enables travellers to escape to picturesque locations where they can work remotely from. This recognition comes just as Sri Lanka Tourism is charting a new path and offers yet another avenue to market the island in a bid to boost tourism. Digital Nomads are a growing segment within the tourism industry, of people who choose to embrace a location and enjoy a technology driven lifestyle which enables them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world.

“Sri Lanka was ranked so highly because of its comparatively low living costs, average temperatures of 30°C along with ample activities and landmarks for visitors to enjoy, and a beautiful working backdrop of lush green mountains, coral reefs and powdery sand, which combines to offer a great remote working experience”, noted Club Med, allocating Sri Lanka a score of 238 out of 320. This emerging segment of Digital Nomads, travel independently, using information researched online through organic sources. The free and independent nature of their travels combined with their long travel stay patterns in one destination makes this segment a lucrative market to pursue.

Digital nomadism is the ultimate work-travel lifestyle many Digital Nomads aspire to, which allows them to explore the exciting destinations while working remotely, a lifestyle that is increasingly becoming the ‘new normal’.” Sri Lanka is poised to be as the perfect post pandemic destination with its wide-open spaces and nature-based attractions. After experiencing prolonged lockdowns and travel restrictions, people are embracing the ‘work from anywhere’ concept with the requirements being a picturesque setting, cultural experiences, adventure and good wifi connection”, said Ms.Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism.

Sri Lanka is positioned well to promote the “work from your own tropical paradise’ concept and Sri Lanka Tourism recognising this is facilitating the expansion of the Digital Nomad market as part of its sustainable strategies. This strategy has received prominence globally with inclusions in listings such as the Club Med listing. Sri Lanka Tourism is currently working on securing the necessary framework to support the expansion of this market and is looking at the possibility of long-term visas for Digital Nomads which is essential to secure this segment.

The positive impact this segment of independent long-stay travellers will have on industry stakeholders is tremendous. With the multitude of immersive experiences, the destination has on offer, the SME segment will also experience growth by providing support services and curated experiences to this high yielding emerging market. Digital Nomads not being sensitive to seasonal travel is also an added advantage to boost off-season tourism with the benefit of digital content generated by this segment pushing promotions for Sri Lanka Tourism organically.

(13 July 2021)Read more.. (Sri Lanka Travel)

SL offers quarantine-free entry for fully-vaccinated tourists

  • Two weeks prior to arrival date travellers are expected to receive both vaccine doses for COVID-19
  • Still need to spend 24 hours at a Safe and Secure (Tier 1) hotel until a negative on-arrival PCR result produced

Sri Lanka has further eased restrictions for tourists by allowing quarantine-free entry for those fully-vaccinated, a step that would provide the much required impetus for the struggling industry.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) announced that a decision has been made to allow international travellers, who have received both vaccine doses for COVID-19 two weeks before the arrival date, to enter the nation without having to undergo quarantine. The requirement of spending 24 hours at a Safe and Secure (Tier 1) hotel until a negative on-arrival PCR result is produced and undergoing a second PCR on the seventh day remain unchanged.

Travellers are still required to produce a negative PCR test report 72 hours prior to boarding the flight, as per the standard procedure. They would also have to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) via the Sri Lanka Tourism website and purchase a mandatory visitor COVID Insurance coverage costing US $ 12, covering a period of 30 days and a US $ 50,000 cover.

It is mandatory for the fully-vaccinated travellers to carry their original vaccine certificate card and if the certification is not in English, an authorised translation of their vaccine certificate must be produced along with the original certificate, the SLTDA said. Non-vaccinated children under 18 are able to undergo an on-arrival PCR test along with their parents and upon obtaining a negative test result will be permitted to travel within the island without quarantine when accompanied by a fully-vaccinated parent or guardian. Children under two will not be subject to a PCR test, unless their parent or guardian tests positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers, the series of restrictions imposed are not eased as yet. Such travellers will have to follow the standard procedure of quarantining in a Safe and Secure Tier 1 hotel up to 14 days, depending on the vaccination status and the duration of stay. For those with a travel history (including transit) in the last 14 days to India, Vietnam, South America, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia, will not be permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka until further notice.

Commenting on the restrictions in place, SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando pointed out that the measures have helped curb the spread of the pandemic while preventing new variants from entering the island. “With the success of the national vaccination rollout programme, we are ready to commence operations as usual for fully-vaccinated arrivals and the tourism industry is well prepared to welcome our international travellers while ensuring the safety and security of our communities,” she said.

(15 July 2021)Read more.. (Daily FT)

Bloomberg boost for Sigiriya with listing as one of new Seven Wonders of the World

Sustaining its brand visibility and universal appeal on a global platform, Sri Lanka Tourism is once again in the spotlight with the recent recognition by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Sri Lanka Tourism said in a statement that the Sigiriya Rock Fortress was listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, making Sri Lanka the only Asian country to make it onto the list along with six other iconic sites appealing to the new age traveller with a thirst for adventure.

These marvels include archaeological and natural treasures spanning far wider than the ancient Greek world and catering to all types of modern explorers.

Dating back to King Kashyapa in the fifth century A.D., Sigiriya is the “perfect amalgam of human-made treasure and natural wonder”, enthuses Bloomberg. Nicknamed Lion Rock – a reference to the paws sculpted into the base of the 660 ft. tall stone – it includes elaborate cisterns and gardens, frescoed caves, and a winding stairway to the crowning citadel.

Sri Lanka Tourism has strategically embarked on developing Sigiriya, a World Heritage site, into a sustainable destination under the National Sustainable Destination Certification (NSDC) initiative. Sustainable tourism is essential to protect natural, cultural, and environmental resources which are critical for the wellbeing of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. If these valuable resources are not sustained, Sri Lanka could see dwindling tourist numbers in the future.

In keeping with this initiative, single-use plastic has been recently banned in Sri Lanka. While sustaining our resources, this strategy will also provide locals more opportunities to practice ancient arts and crafts to cater to demand for sustainable materials.

Sri Lanka Tourism said particularly post-COVID 19, there will be an emergence of the conscious traveller with demands for all aspects of their travel to be sustainable with minimum travel footprint.

With foresight on global tourism moving towards sustainable growth, Sri Lanka Tourism initiated the National Sustainable Tourism Certification (NSTC) for the accommodation sector. Furthermore, Sri Lanka Tourism continues to study the product and services offered by their regional rivals and differentiate the Sri Lankan Tourism offering while highlighting the multitude of immersive experiences available to explore on the island.

Sri Lanka Tourism recognises that in order to sustain livelihoods dependent on the tourism industry, it is imperative that in addition to regulations, all stakeholders are educated and provided with the necessary tools to develop sustainably. With the assistance of international partner agencies, this initiative is currently in progress with several ongoing pilot projects.

Additionally, the Authority is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), which further strengthens the islands position as a sustainable destination. Sustainable tourism is no longer an option, it is a crucial element which is essential to the development of the country’s tourism industry.

(5 July 2021) Read more.. (Daily FT)

Sri Lanka Tourism harnesses technology to enhance the traveler experience

The advent of technology has seemingly transformed the travel and tourism industry - and this evolution was even more pronounced during the current pandemic. Sri Lanka Tourism adopted a proactive approach to harness the benefits of technology into its offering to remain competitive in the digital era. Sri Lanka’s apex tourism body is integrating technology into its operational infrastructure and has invested in value-adding IT initiatives to enhance quality of services, human resources and the traveler experience.

Championing the National Policy priority to improve the digital footprint, Sri Lanka Tourism appointed eMarketingEye as the digital marketing agency to manage social media and digital marketing campaigns. Digitalization is focused on 6 major pillars being Heritage, Scenic Locations, Adventure Activities, Wildlife and Nature, Sri Lanka cuisine and Wellness. For the period January 2020 to April 2021 organic post reach has increased by 452% while 290 million impressions were created with a record 12 million views across all social media channels.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Mobile Travel App version 2.0, supported by the World Bank and ADB under the guidance of ICTA will be launched to meet COVID-19 health protocols and will include nearly 5000 lesser known sites, Google Maps, ticket purchases to tourist sites, ability to rate establishments, a customer experience management system, an emergency button to share location with the Tourist Police as well as a traveler feedback survey.

“Featured on the Travel App will be approximately 5000 off the beaten track locations providing diverse experiences for the international and domestic traveller. This initiative was also carried out to support sustainable tourism and SME’s in order to build community-based tourism. As part of the strategic initiative the Sri Lanka Tourism (srilanka.travel) and SLTDA official websites will also be revamped to reflect the enhanced experience offered to our visitors. The ADB is currently assisting Sri Lanka Tourism with the content creation for the official Mobile Travel App and have invited those interested to express their interest” said Ms.Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism at the recently concluded Investor Forum 2021.

As part of the initiative to showcase Sri Lanka and keep the dream alive, the Kandy Perahera in 2020 was telecast live for the first time in Thailand in the local language, with the support of Missions in Thailand and the Royal Thai Embassy in Sri Lanka.

Sustaining interest on the island, live streaming of wildlife with the ‘Couch Safari’ initiative was followed by guests around the world and received an overwhelming response with a reach of 350,000 out of which at least 40% were international viewers. Wildlife at Yala, Minneriya, Kaudulla and Uda Walawe attracted thousands of viewers with the live streaming concept of ‘stay home today and travel tomorrow’. The campaign was launched on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Direct display advertising campaigns were carried out using Google Display Network and Trip Advisor. Couch Safari was advertised using both video and display advertisements on key travel, wildlife, destination websites and YouTube Channels. Overall, the campaign generated over 22 million impressions, over 1.7 million video views and generated over 40,000 clicks.

Enhancing the appeal of the sector and to ensure hotel school curriculum continued uninterrupted during the mobility restrictions due to the pandemic, SLITHM launched a novel initiative and moved all programmes to an online platform.

Sri Lanka Tourism is entering a new age of technology-backed systems and offerings to cater to the post Covid traveler who will seek more contactless and unconventional forms of travel such as exploring the ‘Work from Anywhere’ concept. Sri Lanka is perfectly poised to embrace the digital nomad with its ‘work from your own tropical paradise’ strategy which has gained attention in many global listings thus far.

(29 June 2021) Read more.. (Ada Derana BIZ)

Sri Lanka tourism to reposition with focus on sustainability

  • SLTDA says essential for SL to focus on environment to generate traffic
  • Points out travellers have become increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint
  • Sustainable destination effort to kick off with Sigiriya
  • Mega campaign on sustainable tourism to be launched

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka’s struggling tourism sector is gearing up to tread on the sustainability and eco-friendly path to generate traffic, an effort taken up by the authorities to reposition the island nation as the pandemic eases.

With sustainability and eco-friendly tourism practices becoming increasingly popular across the world, as the effects of climate change can be very much felt, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) yesterday said measures have already been rolled out to allow the industry to reap benefits from this new focus.

“Sustainability is no longer even an option. Environment sustainability or sustainability in a border sense, is becoming absolutely necessary. Travellers are becoming more conscious even of their footprint and it is essential for destinations like Sri Lanka to focus on the environment,” said Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando while addressing a webinar yesterday that was themed on reviving tourism.

To steer the industry in that direction, Fernando shared that tourism projects would need to adopt green building concepts, which would be made mandatory from January 2022.

Sri Lanka has already commenced the initiatives to obtain accreditation from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), a certification that would affirm the nation’s compliance with universal criteria for sustainable tourism.

Fernando shared that the plans are afoot to ban all hotels across the island using single-use plastics since the country’s ban in this regard is not fully implemented.

The eco-friendly initiative will kick off with Sigiriya being transformed into a sustainable destination, making it the first-of-its-kind in the island nation. The tourism hotspot will be installed with solar panels and water fountains, amongst others, Fernando said.

“We are moving into sustainability technology and we are already implementing a shift towards delivering experiences that complement this new focus. Sri Lanka is ready for this,” shared Fernando.

Furthermore, Fernando shared that a mega campaign on embracing sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives was to be launched earlier this month. However, the X-Press Pearl incident, which has led to a major marine disaster, put the effort on hold

(17 June 2021) Read more.. (DailyMirror)

Keep the Sri Lankan Holiday Dream Alive

With the mission to popularize the Safe & Secure Bio Travel Bubble Process and rich tourism product diversity available to offer, Sri Lanka Tourism (SLTPB) welcomed popular Food Travel YouTube channel “Chopstick Travel” (Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/ToastWithJim) from 16th April 2021 to 9th May 2021) . Destination Sri Lanka will be featured in Chopstick Travel’s latest travel episodes which will be premiered on Sunday 13 th June 2021.

Heritage Expediciones wins Travelife Partner sustainability award

Heritage Expediciones Sri Lanka received the Travelife Partner award in recognition of their long-term efforts and frontrunner position regarding sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Heritage Expediciones complies with more than 100 criteria related to operators’ office management, product range, international business partners and customer information. The Travelife Standard covers the ISO 26000 Corporate Social Responsibility themes, including environment, biodiversity, human rights and labour relations, and is formally recognised as being in full compliance with the UN-supported Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria.

Heritage Expediciones is the fifth company in Sri Lanka to have achieved the Travelife Partner award.

Travelife for Tour Operators Manager Naut Kusters said, “I am delighted to see that sustainability in the tour operators sector is gaining momentum. The award won by frontrunner Heritage Expediciones will inspire other companies in Sri Lanka to follow the same path.”

Established with the support of the European Commission, Travelife is the leading international sustainability certification for the travel sector. More than 35 national travel associations promotes the scheme to their members, including the British Travel Association ABTA and the Pacific Asian Travel Association (PATA). Since 2012, more than 600 Asian companies have been trained in CSR with the support of the Dutch Government’s CBI program. They now work step by-step towards more sustainable operations.

Travelife is a certification system dedicated to achieving sustainable practices within the tourism industry. It provides companies with realistic sustainability goals, tools and solutions to implement positive changes within their businesses and supply chains. Travelife is managed by the UK Travel Association ABTA and by ECEAT Projects, a not-for-profit organisation based in the Netherlands.

Travelife has two key focuses: Tour operators and travel agents. The system provides online training and practical tools for sustainability management and certification. These are suitable for tour operators and travel agencies of any size and cover all management aspects of the travel business including office operations, the supply chain, destinations and consumers. Upon submitting a report in compliance with the Travelife standard (based on an independent onsite audit), the company can obtain the ‘Travelife Certified’ status.

The Travelife Standard for tour operators and travel agencies is based upon Corporate Social Responsibility themes, including labour conditions, human rights, environment, biodiversity and fair business practices. The management requirements are compatible with EMAS and ISO 14001. The system is supported by more than 35 national travel associations to further its implementation among members.

YALA NATIONAL PARK is among the World’s Best National Parks

Ranked by Men’s Journal [New York - USA]

Yala National Park tends to really fly under the radar, but it’s one of the world’s most diverse national parks,” says Yogerst. Located on the island’s south coast, it covers over 320,000 acres of light forests, scrubs, grasslands, and lagoons. Originally a hunting ground for the British elite, it was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1900; now it’s home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species. “It’s primarily known for wildlife, especially leopards and elephants,” says Yogerst. “But the park also has terrific beaches, ancient rock temples that are still active places of worship, and a choice of lodges or camping for overnight stays. There aren’t many places on the planet where you can safari drive in the morning and surf in the afternoon.”

Men's Journal is a monthly men's lifestyle magazine focused on outdoor recreation and comprising editorials on the outdoors, environmental issues, health and fitness, style and fashion, and gear. It was founded in 1992.

Heritage Expediciones staff Travelife Sustainability certified

Many staff members of Heritage Expediciones have qualified in the online examinations on the Travelife website. They were felicitated by the management on their achievements recently. Here the team members with the entire staff of Heritage Expediciones

Friday, 21 June 2019


48 countries have been exempted with effect 01st August 2019 for the next 6 months from the mandatory Visa fee payment of USD 35 when obtaining a Visa to Sri Lanka.
Despite this exemption it is compulsory to have ETA approval.
The 48 countries exempted are: Austria; Australia; Belgium; Bulgaria; Canada; Cambodia; China; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iceland; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malaysia; Malta; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russia; Singapore; South Korea; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Thailand; Ukraine; the United Kingdom; and the United States of America.

01, August 2019

Heritage Expediciones facilitates expertise on sustainability for tour operators

Heritage Expediciones recently conducted a workshop on Sustainability for Tour Operators. The sessions were conducted by Travel Life Sri Lanka Country Manager Ajantha Palihawadana.

The event was a sought-after learning program on inbound tourism in Sri Lanka, to manage and improve social and environmental impacts by complying with internationally recognised sustainability criteria, to support tour operators on their road to sustainability. This certification, which is accepted by 18 European associations, is also pledged recognised by lead players in the tour operator industry, including Thomas Cook, COSMOS, appollo and KUONI. It is also the only scheme active in Asia for tour operators, and is supported by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

The certification also boosts the market image of a tour operator, says Palihawadana, who also points out that it fills a much-felt void in the sector. "Although sustainability certification is commonly heard of within the hotel industry, it is something novel to Sri Lankan tour operator industry."

Nepal and Bhutan have already experienced this, and certification is also operative in several South East Asian countries including Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. "Thailand’s experience is set as the guideline to formulate our criteria to obtain Travel Life Certification for tour operators and will be looking at ten main areas of sustainability management, internal management of social policy and human rights, internal environmental management, partner agencies, transport, accommodation, sustainable excursions, tour leaders, local representatives and guides, destinations and customer communication and protection.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Colombo named ‘must-photograph’ travel destination of 2019

The Colombo city has been named the ‘must-photograph’ travel destination of 2019, in a study.

Research of more than 1.3 million social media posts found the Asian city is the location travellers most want to take a picture of, followed by Yokohama in Japan and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda.

The Isle of Harris in Scotland also made the list, along with Baden-Baden in Germany’s Black Forest. Commissioned by Huawei to celebrate the launch of its new P Smart 2019 device, the research also uncovered a new-found appetite among young Brits for lesser-known destinations.

Just under half of 18-25 year olds now look for places their friends haven’t been, with more than a third saying they want to be the first to find new travel hotspots, take the photo and stick it online.

14th January, June 2019


Sri Lanka is decidedly having its moment in the equatorial sun and change is coming swiftly. Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived. There’s now more than ever for families, adrenaline junkies, eco-tourists, wellness seekers and foodies of all budgets. Even the north and east, including areas previously off limits, difficult to reach or lacking in services, deliver new discoveries.

January 2019

Sri Lanka voted by travel influencers as top destination in Asia for 2019

A panel consisting of five of the world’s top travel influencers and bloggers has voted Sri Lanka as the top emerging Asian travel destination for 2019.
The awards were published last week on the site TravelLemming.com, which focuses on emerging and off-the-beaten path travel spots around the globe.
Winners for the Asian awards were selected by an expert panel consisting of five of the best renowned travel bloggers and influencers in the world, with a combined following on social media of over 750,000.In describing why Sri Lanka won, the article reads: “Sri Lanka has been poised on the edge of tourism popularity for a few years now, and 2019 might finally be the year it pops.
In fact, it was just named the #1 country in the world to travel to in 2019 by Lonely Planet. And, honestly, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. From dreamy surf coasts to quiet jungle retreats, to incredible wildlife and history, Sri Lanka has all the makings of one of the greatest travel destinations on the planet.”
One of the judges, Meg Jerrard of the popular travel blog Mapping Megan, is quoted as saying: “Sri Lanka is a mesmerising and magical place with something for everyone, and enough diversity to keep a trip interesting. It has stunning beaches, is a haven for budget travellers, has flavourful food, and there are oodles of heritage, wildlife, and incredible landscapes just waiting to be hiked.”
Other judges on the panel included popular gay travel bloggers Nomadic Boys, hipster travel star Travels of Adam, the San Diego-based Instagram star Hackerette, and the acclaimed travel blogger Otts World.
Travel Lemming CEO Nate Hake said: “One of the biggest trends in travel these days is the desire of tourists to get off the beaten path. Our six winning destinations in Asia are all great options for wonderful places to explore without the crowds!”
The site TravelLemming.com is dedicated to the promotion of travel to emerging travel destinations. The name lemming derives from the Scandinavian rodent, which is rumoured (falsely) to engage in such mindless group behaviour that it will literally follow fellow lemmings of a cliff to death. Travel Lemming encourages travellers to think beyond the popular destinations and to forge their own path.
Travel Lemming was started by its founder Nate Hake, an American traveler from Denver, Colorado who is most famous for visiting 43 countries in a single year.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Heritage Expediciones: Unravelling the Best of 15 Years

Heritage Expediciones, a destination management company, which was founded in 2003, by Mr. George David, has come through a 15 year journey by creating memorable experiencesto their clientele.Unravelling the best of 15 years, they held their anniversary celebrations at Waters Edge on 29th June 2018, celebrating with their national and chauffeur guides, staff and well wishers who have supported them along their journey.
On this occasion, they also launched their new interactive website that is tailor made to their clientele, to customize a trip around Sri Lanka. This website allows the client to have a virtual run of their tour.The success of this milestone achieved by Heritage Expediciones, is their experienced and dedicated team, who has built the Heritage family with the enthusiasm to reach greater heights.

29th Friday, June 2018