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Publication Title | Eco-Tourism Practices in Sri Lankan Eco Resorts: An Analysis of Satisfaction and Behavioral Intention of Eco-Tourists

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International Journal of Business and Social Science Vol. 6, No. 10; October 2015

Eco-Tourism Practices in Sri Lankan Eco Resorts: An Analysis of Satisfaction and Behavioral Intention of Eco-Tourists

Abstract

Rangana Sri Shalika Wadippuli Arachchi

Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka

Mohd Shukri Ab. Yajid

Management Science University Shah Alam-Malaysia

Ali Khatibi

Management Science University Shah Alam-Malaysia

Ecotourism is potentially the best growing segment in the international market. Many hoteliers in Sri Lanka promote the sustainable use of this concept as a new market oriented concept. However, arrivals of eco tourists to Sri Lanka have been less than 1% over the last decade. The study used the quantitative research approach using questionnaire survey to conduct this research. Here the researcher focuses on the satisfaction level of eco- tourists on eco-tourism components practices in the eco resorts and how it affects for the behavioral intention. Analysis of questionnaire survey showed that some major components are not practicing properly in eco resorts, it has caused for the dissatisfaction of eco tourists and their behavioral intention. As a result, Sri Lanka is experiencing less number of eco-tourists. Eco resort hoteliers’ poor practice of the concept is one of the major reasons for it.

Key words: Eco tourism, Eco resort, Eco tourists, Eco resort components, Satisfaction, behavioral intention 1. Introduction

1.1 Background of the study

Tourism is currently one of the most important contributors to the Sri Lankan economy. Tourism continued as the third largest earner of foreign exchange earnings in Sri Lankan economy. Attitude of tourists have gradually changed from one that emphasized beach tourism to one that demands more, natural, cultural and social interactions. He further emphasized the new phenomenon, which is broadly termed as “Alternative Tourism”. As a result, the concept of Ecotourism emerged with the collaboration of cultural, rural, nature tourism, and its related activities as a niche market (Silva, 2004).

The term ‘Ecotourism’ was first coined in July of 1983 by Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, an architect, environmentalist and ecotourism consultant from Mexico (Planeta). The original definition was as follows, "Ecotourism is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features - both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations” Being a good business opportunity and the fastest growing segment in the tourism industry, Sri Lankan tourism is changing its outlook to sustain this new product. Since Sri Lanka is rich with much cultural and natural diversity, it has the potential to develop the eco-tourism concept better than other destinations for the benefit of the Sri Lankan economy and community (SLEF, 2001). Therefore, applying the eco-tourism concept to Sri Lankan hotel industry will encourage close interaction with the natural and cultural environment and give more economic benefits to the country. Ecotourism provides many benefits to the society, which includes the protection of eco system, increase the foreign exchange of the country and living standards of the people, swift regional development, reduction of waste, minimize the negative impacts to the environment etc.

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