Fair trade tour in Sri Lanka

Responsible Travel, Travel Team

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Departure information

Our tailor made Sri Lanka vacations can be arranged at any time to suit you, and adapted to your requirements as necessary although we do not offer trips for under 10 days.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Fair trade tour in Sri Lanka


Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation
Sri Lanka has diverse habitats and a great variety of indigenous wildlife and plant life. To help maintain breeding populations of some of the more vulnerable animal species endemic to the island, conservation projects have been started. Through our tailor made Sri Lanka vacations we encourage travelers to visit some of these projects to support their conservation work.

The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity working throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild. We are an active supporter of Born Free and its animal welfare campaigns, and we encourage all travelers to be aware of potential animal exploitation while on their vacations.

Elephant Transit Home
The Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in Uda Walawe National Park is an excellent way of seeing baby wild elephants at close quarters in their natural environment (supported by the Born Free Foundation - see below).

This conservation project takes in baby wild elephants that have been separated from their mothers and cares for them until they can be returned to the wild. The young animals spend their days roaming freely in a section of the park, being observed at a distance by a few members of the ETH staff. They are fed at three-hour intervals in a specially constructed feeding yard, and this is the only time that they can be seen by tourists, who watch from a viewing platform separated from the yard itself. At no point can the tourists have physical contact with the animals. The sight of feeding time is very popular with local and foreign tourists alike as the elephants are enthusiastic, relaxed and full of character, unlike the elephants at Pinnewala Elephant ‘Orphanage’ (see below).

We do not promote or visit Pinnewala Elephant ‘Orphanage’ following adverse reports from Travelers’ Animal Alert, the global animal welfare campaign of the Born Free Foundation we support, and some of our own customers. Please contact us for more details.

Travelers’ Animal Alert is about being a compassionate traveler, alerting Born Free of captive animal suffering around the world. Incorporating complaints received from concerned members of the public returning from vacations in both the UK and abroad, Born Free hopes to tackle the growing problems associated with captive wild animal welfare.

We are an active supporter of Travelers’ Animal Alert and we encourage all travelers to be aware of potential animal exploitation while on their vacations. In order to help Travelers’ Animal Alert, we will promote the following guidelines as a provider of responsible tourism:
• Promote Travelers’ Animal Alert in our customer travel documents and on our website
• Pledge not to promote any exploitative animal 'attraction' through our company literature or website
• Encourage all our vacation service providers not to promote any activity that involves animal exploitation
• Encourage our staff and customers to look out for captive animal exploitation and report any suffering to Travelers’ Animal Alert
• Actively encourage compassionate and responsible tourism.

Reducing water consumption
Sri Lanka, like many countries around the world, suffers from acute water shortages at certain times of the year. Even though the island experiences two monsoons a year, the reservoirs and tanks are not of sufficient capacity to supply the country’s requirements. This not only causes water shortages in villages and towns – in some areas they are limited to only one hour’s supply a day during these periods – but also contributes to power cuts since much of Sri Lanka’s electricity is generated by hydroelectric power. Reducing water consumption while traveling in Sri Lanka will contribute directly to conserving essential water supplies. Much of the Sri Lankan population wash in rivers and lakes and so supplied fresh water is used mainly for cooking and drinking.

Please share our concern for the environment - SAVE WATER.

Eco facts:
• Less than 20% of the world's water is fresh water.
• Acute water shortage has become a recurring problem in many parts of Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.
• Conservation is the greatest resource when it comes to water supply.

Limiting non-degradable waste production
In previous times many of the goods and products sold in Sri Lanka were packaged in natural biodegradable materials. Today, however, much of the packaging is non-degradable and this waste pollutes the environment, particularly when it is not disposed of correctly. Limiting the amount of non-degradable waste generated helps to preserve the environment and reduces the potential negative impact on wildlife.

• Try to buy goods and products in biodegradable packaging. For example, many pharmacies in Sri Lanka dispense medicines in paper bags rather than plastic bags.
• Limit the number of plastic carrier bags acquired when shopping by putting your purchases directly into your own bag without extra packaging.
• Reduce the number of plastic water bottles used by storing your drinking water in a re-usable water container. (Bringing a water filter, potable iodine solution or water purification tablets with you will help limit the number of water bottles required.)
• Always dispose of non-degradable waste carefully since it can have a detrimental effect on the environment and wildlife.


Through our tailor made Sri Lanka vacations we actively encourage responsible and sustainable travel to Sri Lanka. By working on our Sri Lanka vacations closely with our associate company in Sri Lanka and other partner organisations, we are endeavouring to promote cultural exchange, social awareness, local employment and self-development as well as an ethos of fair trade to achieve better trading and working conditions for individuals.

Sri Lanka fair trade products
We visit and promote a selection of bona fide fair trade and organic producers in Sri Lanka.

Thimble arts and crafts workshop in Negombo empowers women of nearby fishing villages by encouraging them to create a range of handicrafts, wall hangings, tapestries, cushions and stuffed toys that are flamboyant and distinct in style.

Gospel House Handicrafts in Medampe is Sri Lanka’s leading Fairtrade manufacturer of crafted wooden toys, producing over 1000 designs in various types including puzzles, custom-made wheel toys, build-up toys and games for over 40 years.

Selyn is Sri Lanka’s only Fairtrade-guaranteed handloom company that engages the traditional Sri Lankan community of handloom weavers to produce handmade linen, garments and accessories of 100% cotton with infinite skill and devotion.

Matale Heritage Centre was set up by Ena de Silva, who is credited with re-establishing the ancient art of batik on the island. In 1982, she returned to her ancestral home in the hills above Matale and founded a women's cooperative to make batiks and needlework along with a brass foundry and wood-carving workshop. Since her death in 2015, the cooperative continues to make modern fabrics and carvings, which are inspired by traditional Sri Lankan designs.

Mr Ellie Pooh is a manufacturer of fair trade paper and exotic gifts from elephant dung. The company provides sustainable paper making and artisan jobs in the Kegalle district of Sri Lanka, which help to support local communities and are essential to the success of local conservation efforts.

Amba Estate near Ella produces a range of artisanal teas, coffees, spices and preserves from its 100-acre plantation, and it works with the local community to support a variety of educational, economic and environmental initiatives, offering visitors the opportunity to learn more about organic farming and artisanal tea-making.

Sipnara Handicrafts in Galle is a government-run initiative to reintroduce locals to the art of Beeralu lace making. This intricate and time-consuming style of lace making is practised as a cottage industry in many areas of the south. The craft is said to have originated during the Portuguese colonial period when courtiers taught local women to create lace designs to decorate their own attire.

Sri Lanka vacations guides
We only employ English-speaking Sri Lankan chauffeur guides who are all licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. Experienced guides for trekking, safaris and other specialist activities are hired locally and have extensive knowledge of their chosen area of expertise.

Sri Lanka vacations accommodation
We actively promote small family-run guesthouses that employ local workers, or in the case of larger hotels, locally owned establishments.

Sri Lanka vacations restaurants
We encourage travelers to eat at traditional restaurants, roadside eateries, street vendors and market stalls in order for them to enjoy and experience authentic Sri Lankan food.

Sri Lanka community-led projects
The Asian Tsunami highlighted the plight of coastal communities in Sri Lanka and our initial projects were targeted at Sri Lankan individuals and communities devastated by the tsunami (please ask us for details). However, many other communities away from the coast also lack essential materials and services and our objective is to offer long-term support to such Sri Lankan individuals and communities. By channelling all donations received by Forgotten Village Sri Lanka (an independent charitable organisation) into community-based projects on the island, we hope to provide sustained assistance to these communities in their endeavour to improve their lives. We make a contribution to Forgotten Village Sri Lanka for every vacation booked.

1 Reviews of Fair trade tour in Sri Lanka

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 13 Feb 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The Horton plains walk was very good, but most of the things that we did and saw were all enjoyable and educational

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Just accept everything that comes along and you will enjoy it.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We certainly helped out local communities by buying various stuff and not haggling. Am not sure that our long haul flights
reduced environmental impacts!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Really enjoyed it all, we saw lots of different things and non of the accommodations were anywhere near similar to each other.

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