August 27 is World Tourism Day. This year,  the theme is “promoting universal accessibility.” Groundviews decided to focus on sustainable tourism – and specifically, on how tourism development has impacted local communities.

Tourism is a vital driver of income to the local economy – with over a million tourists arriving in Sri Lanka from January to August 2016 alone. It also provides thousands of people with jobs, either directly or indirectly.

However, in some instances tourism development has come at the cost of homes and livelihoods, as Groundviews found when visiting these areas. This speaks to the need for a much more consultative and educative process with local communities, to ensure that tourism development benefits, and is accessible, to all.

Groundviews would like to extend thanks to the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) and the many local organisers who facilitated both access to these areas and background information for this piece. This list also draws from Sri Lanka Campaign’s comprehensive list on who to avoid in their ethical tourism campaign.

The detailed story, created using Adobe Spark, can be accessed here or viewed below:

Paradise Lost

In the lead up to this piece, a series of sliders was created using Atavist, links to which can be found here for the Panama, Kankesanthurai, Pasikudah, Trincomalee and Kalpitiya areas.


A StoryMap was also published, accessible here, or viewable below:

If you enjoyed this article, you may find our previous articles on this topic interesting: Tourism in Sri Lanka: Catalyst for Peace and development or militarization and dispossession?” and “Tourism mega development in Sri Lanka results in human rights violations“.