Return to Travel with a Conscience Green-footprint travel does exist in these bubbles of exquisite eco havens across Sri Lanka

Return to Travel with a Conscience Green-footprint travel does exist in these bubbles of exquisite eco havens across Sri Lanka

Jetwing Hotels, who scatter their luxurious eco-centered hotels and villas across the island of Sri Lanka, are arguably one of the most sustainable tourism brands in the world. Indeed, Jetwing’s founding chairman started the hotels some 47 years ago with sustainability at the forefront of his vision:

…Hospitality cannot exist isolated from the local communities and the environment… – Herbert Cooray, Founding Chairman of Jetwing Hotels

Despite the detrimental effects of the pandemic on the tourism industry, Jetwing pursued new ways to upkeep their green mission. With the environment, their employees and the local community in mind they took the initiative to utilize their unused land across their 34 properties to grow crops. This ingenious idea both fed the hotels employees (and families), created much needed community spirit, paid for the employees’ wages and created a profit to keep their eco-tourism hotels afloat. This brilliant idea will continue post pandemic and is a true testament to true initiative during dark days,

Innovative solutions to support the environment and local communities has always been a common trait across Jetwing’s destinations. Jetwing Kaduruketha in Wellawaya has long been practicing eco-agriculture and is a staple agro-tourism destination. While using traditional and organic farming practices for pest control and nutrient management they have also re-popularised heritage species of rice such as Suwandel, Pachchaperumal and Kahawanu. The rice grown is provided and sufficient for all of the Jetwing hotels and villas and all food production is carried out in house.

Sri Lanka holds many of its own unique species due to it being an island and they have seen a rapid decline in biodiversity in recent times due to human-wildlife conflicts. Jetwing work to counter this by embracing biodiversity and doing their upmost to uphold the rich biodiversity of the island. In particular, Jetwing Vil Uyana, in Sigiriya is a wildlife sanctuary creating a natural harmony of habitats. They have massively increased species diversity over the last 15 years with: number of mammals increasing from 12 to 27, birds 29 to 148, butterflies 24 to 51. There was a huge increase of reptiles and amphibians from 3 to 44, due to the introduction of a manmade wetland which incorporates contemporary comforts with rural haven and the endangered Slender Loris sanctuary celebrated its 10th

anniversary in 2020.

All of Jetwing’s accommodations allow guests to feel responsible while relaxing in tropical luxury. Approximately three quarters of energy used across all destinations is created self-sufficiently, primarily with the biofuel, cinnamon wood, brilliantly renewable as it is a byproduct of spice production and has a short crop cycle. Such as Jetwing Lagoon, set on the stunning coastline across from Negombo Lagoon, which has won countless sustainable energy awards over the years, using 20KW off grid energy. Additionally, the revitalising and spiritual Jetwing Kandy Gallery, surrounded by mystic waterfalls set centrally amongst the colonies of Hanthane and Matale mountain ranges, use a magnificent 90.5KW off grid energy.

Indeed the hard facts and figures of Jetwing’s sustainability 2020 report speak for themselves:

This relatively small group of hotels annually treat and reuse enough waste water to fill 114 Olympic size swimming pools, eliminate close to 4,000 kg of plastic waste by producing 343,045 glass water bottles, and through the use of solar panels, avoided C02 emissions to the tune of 661 MT, equivalent to the C02 absorbed by over 29,000 trees.

The preservation of the chairman’s local communities is as important to them as that of the divine natural beauty of the island. Sri Lanka was devasted with a Tsunami, claiming the lives of 30,000 people. This natural disaster haunts many survivors as well as blanketed a fear over many small disadvantaged communities. Jetwing Lighthouse, after discovering many wouldn’t have lost their lives had they known how to swim, took the initiative to form The Lighthouse Community Pool Trust. By transforming a pool to be available exclusively to 26 schools in the area, they have now given the free opportunity for many children to be taught to swim.

Jetwing’s collection of stunning hotels across Sri Lanka are second to none when it comes to the perfect balance of sustainability and exotic luxury. For those returning to travel with a new desire to travel in comfort while being responsible, Jetwing can promise to exceed expectations.