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Sri Lanka leads global Carbon Free Destination Initiative:

Sri Lanka leads global Carbon Free Destination Initiative: ( A Tourism Earth Lung Proactively recognising the need for the Tourism Industry to prepare for a possible change in tourism demand as a response to global climate change, destination Sri Lanka has come up with a proactive initiative of global significance.

With transport as one of the most visible contributors to global warming, increased awareness regarding climate change might induce tourists to switch from long haul to short haul destinations. But these shifts could potentially harm least developed countries, most of which depend heavily on tourism income - 46 of the 49 poorest countries of the world rely on international tourism as their primary source of foreign exchange earnings.

During the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change and Tourism organized by UNWTO together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and supported by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Swiss Government held in Davos, Switzerland, Renton de Alwis of Sri Lanka Tourism announced the initiative “A Tourism Earth Lung – Towards a Carbon Clean Sri Lanka". This practical policy response championed by the Minister of Tourism of Sri Lanka, Milinda Moragoda, represents a bridge across the trade-off between environmental awareness and tourism's pro-development potential. As a small country which depends heavily on long-haul travel to generate tourism income, Sri Lanka is facing up to the climate challenge and aims at becoming the first carbon neutral destination. As its tropical forest systems can store large amounts of carbon which otherwise would add to the CO2 in the atmosphere, Sri Lanka aspires to be a travel and tourism Earth Lung. Sri Lanka is also home to the 'Sinharaja', a virgin rain forest which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With its commitment to a range of LULUCF-activities (Land Use, Land Use Change&Forestry) associated with appropriate Carbon Offset Programs (COP), “this initiative has both real and symbolic value and we hope other countries and stakeholders to join the Earth Lung Community to create a global framework that will contribute to the overall UN response to climate change", said UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General, Geoffrey Lipman.

Sri Lanka Tourism has initiated action to include tourism in the country's Carbon Trading Policy Framework and will take on significant initiatives to make Sri Lanka a Carbon neutral tourism destination within a specific time frame.

For more information; Pamoda Senanayake Chairman's Secretariat Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Tel. +94 11 2437061 Email:

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