Nature tourism aims to create alternatives for the locals who depend on their natural resources in a destructive manner. The TCP has two nature tourism programmes, both in Rekawa and Kosgoda. The focal point of this programme is the Nature Trail which entails many key aspects as
In both towns, TCP uses the tourism concepts to help educate local people and train them with the support of the Ceylon Tourist Board and the Sri Lanka Hotel School, as tourist guides with a valid tourist guide license to earn a positive additional income. From this natural conservation organization, it provides many business prospects to the tourist guides, reducing their ideas of taking part in their local employment of destroying their community’s natural resources. For instance, the nature tourism programme which was established in 1999 in Rekawa employed ten community members as tour guides. By this, we are linking conservation and work ideals sustaining our environment effectively and efficiently.
As the Rekawa lagoon and tanks provide important habitat for migratory birds, the CEET’s with their link up with the Ceylon Bird Club involved in sharing their knowledge with the visitors.
The Rekawa mangrove project forms an integral part of the Rekawa Nature Trail where visitors to the village are invited to visit the nursery and the replanting sites and have a chance to learn more about the mangrove ecosystem from the CEETs.
Once the in-situ system was established and working with the TCP began to develop the concept of “Turtle Watches” for ticket-paying tourists as a means of contributing to the future sustainability of the project. This is an unintrusive “ecotourism” venture based on marine turtle research and nest protection. The success of this programme would demonstrate the possibilities for sustainable forms of income generation in Rekawa and provide a model for other coastal communities.