Sustainable Destination Development


Core Tourism Product of the Destination

• Having the “Big Five” (Asian Elephant/Elephas maximus, Blue whale/ Balaenoptera musculus, Leopard/ Panthera pardus, Sloth Bear/ Melursus ursinus, lesser adjutant/Leptoptilos javanicus)

• Seeing the African-born Adansonia digitat L. tree known as the Bio Bab

• Boat cruises to observe the mangrove (mutti Kadol) luminitzera littorea ecosystems in river islets (Rhizophora mucronata and Avicennia marina) and associated fauna.

• Camping on an island or on Kalaoya river bank in the wilderness bordering to Wilpattu National Park & within the Weerakkcholei Forest Reserves

• Pre-historical fossils were discovered at an archaeological site near Aruwakkaru.

  • • The experience of fishing using traditional “theppama”/night fishing

    • Nature observation, research and studies on – Endemic flora species to site & listed in red data book Walnut/ Juglans regia. & Muttikadol (Sinhala Name) lumnitzera littorea

    • Sun Setting Observation and Coffee Chat on a sand dune in Kalaoya river mouth.

    • Cuisine and dining of oysters in the lagoon.

    • • Livelihood experiences (Fishing/Agriculture /Chana – Tree house/ cane weaving … ect)

      • Rituals & Cultural event by the community (Fire festival in the Kovil)

ESA Project

The Project "Enhancing Biodiversity Conservation and Sustenance of Ecosystems services in Environmentally Sensitive Areas" is a GEF funded project, implemented by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and supported by UNDP. The Project would contribute to safeguarding globally significant biodiversity on production lands of high interest for conservation. The primary objective of this project is "To operationalize Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA), as a mechanism for mainstreaming biodiversity management into development in areas of high conservation significance, outside the Protected Area network". To achieve this objective, the project has two major outcomes; (1) national enabling framework strengthened to designate and manage ESAs and (2) biodiversity-friendly ESA management for long term integrity and resilience ensured at sites identified in the Kala Oya river basin.

Gagewadiya Sustainable Eco Tourism Destinations

Gangewadiya is unique landmark integrated with terrestrial and marine biodiversity and ecosystem that has led to recognize an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).

 It  has huge potential for alternative tourism as it is endowed with a diversity of resources and  already  gaining popularity among tourists. The environment here, especially the rich mangrove forest, is still untouched and it is one of the largest intact mangrove ecosystems in Sri Lanka. As a sensitive eco-tourism zone, it will be specialized for various eco-tourism activities and will be developed as a new wave of tourism.


Operational Guidelines for Gangewadiya as an ESA

Gangewadiya is an emerging Community Based Ecotourism destination in ESA, which has been declared and incorporated with National Environmental Sensitive Area policy framework. As conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem along with historically built environments has been recognized as a primary necessity of the destination, development and management of destination should be incorporated with appropriate operational guidelines in compliance with green standards. The green standard operational guidelines should be established well and interpreted to all the tourism practitioners and local stakeholders to embrace with operation all the services, facilities and tourist activities that going to be taken place in Gangewadiya. Particularly the operational guidelines encompass camping, boating, accommodations, homestays, restaurants and tour guiding. In addition, conservational ecotourism practices such as coastal and marine tourism, bird watching, dragonflies and butterflies tourism, herpetofauna watching, nature trekking and wildlife safari are recommended with operational guidelines to ensure the sustainability of ESA – Gangewadiya.


Training of local tourism practitioners and other grass root stakeholders to ensure the sustainable development in Gangewadiya.

Development, management and marketing of quality community based ecotourism depend on continuous capacity building and access to advice and technical support. Short and long-terms training programmes are required by Gangewadiya- Community based tourism to amplify the impacts and long-term sustainability while quality tourism products. Below training programmes has been conducted by Wayamba Development Authority under UNDP supported ESA Project

  • 01. Destination Planning, Tourism & Hospitality

  • 02. Environmental Management; conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem

    • 03. Rules and Regulations of Tourism and other related department in Gagewadiy.