The Louis Berger Group implemented The USAID-funded Sustainable Coastal Tourism in Asia - Sri Lanka project, which focused on safeguarding the natural resource base on which coastal communities are dependent, while enhancing sustainable coastal tourism and building local environmental management and mitigation capacity. Under this project, we worked with select Marine Protected Areas, Special Area Management Sites, tourism providers, environmental NGOs, state agencies, and other local stakeholders active in coastal communities, with an emphasis on those operating in Rekawa and Hikkaduwa.
In Hikkaduwa, we conducted pilot activities, including a solid waste management project that encompassed an awareness campaign in Pradeshiya Sabaha Area, an intervention by the Urban Council involving policy formulation and the development of a regional landfill, and a sanitation assessment for tourism entities to facilitate their connection to the Hikkaduwa Central Sewage System.
To enhance the tourism services offered in targeted sites, we held numerous ecotourism trainings and workshops that focused on coral health, guidelines and standards of ecotourism, creation of a wildlife conservation visitor center, and development and promotion of ecotourism services. We conducted numerous activities in Rekawa that strengthened natural resource management through the promotion of traditional customs and offerings that were related to ecology and would also be of interest to tourists. Such activities included training a bird watching organization, strengthening a traditional performing arts group, enhancing a batik and handicrafts entity (in collaboration with the Turtle Conservation Project), supporting the Lagoon Fisheries Interpretation Center, and assisting the Home Stays Group to provide attractive accommodations to tourists.
The final component of the project focused on building environmental management and mitigation capacity of local entities. Personnel from the Department of Wild Life Conservation and from the Marine Protected Areas, as well as from other relevant entities, received training on coastal zone management, marine life identification, and carrying capacity assessments. Additionally, we supported the development of an interagency task force that worked to implement the action plan pertaining to Hikkaduwa coastal restoration.