Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Logo for Saraii

With the help of an amazing young graphic designer, Dilruha de Silva Saraii now has a new logo...
This logo represts the bio diversity of the location through the incorporation of a dragon fly; and the tag line showcases the meaning of Saraii, which is the "Essence". The colours used are earthy and symbolizes the environment...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Team Saraii in Sri Lanka

Team Saraii arrived in Sri Lanka on the 4th of June 2011. Expectations were high to accomplish as much as possible during the time frame available to us. The plan is to travel around Sri Lanka visiting similar locations and understanding how eco tourism works in the country...

Team starts traveling from Colombo, the cosmopolitan to the more rural and culturally rich areas of Sri Lanka. Wilgamuwa, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Kalpitiya, Bandulla, Ella, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Tricomalee, Arugam Bay, Weerawila are some of the areas that will be visited... These locations cover most of island, especially the East which was occupied by terrorist organizations and was a restricted zone for over 30 years.

Looking forward to starting the journey...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Need a logo for Saraii...!!!

We are looking for a logo for Saraii...

We like the theme of a "dragonfly" as the dragonfly symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.

The dragon fly is also synonymous with bio diversity and a healthy eco system. They are very useful in integrated pest management. In fact the agro forestry farm, Saraii will be based at, has created a habitat that will attract them to the farm!

One logo we came up with is shown below... This is not finalized, hope we find the ideal logo soon...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Business Plan for Saraii

Saraii team is in the process of preparing a business plan for Saraii... Final business plan and presentation is due in 2 weeks... Busy busy...!!! :-)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Location - Wilgamuwa, Sri Lanka

Saraii will be set up in the beautiful village of Wilgamuwa, in the Matale District of Sri Lanka. Saaraketha Pvt Limited an Agro Forestry company will partner with Saraii to provide us with land and some of their infrastructure. Saaraketha has a model farm that includes agri cultivation of different fruits and vegetables, hardwood trees, rice paddy fields, rain water harvesting areas.

They also have a state of the art knowledge center, which is called the CREATE Center (Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment), this center will support us with a location to train our employees, with 3G internet coverage, access to computers, conference room and presentation equipment. Saaraketha has also set up a demonstration kitchen and pavilion, which we will also utilize for preparation of our organic meals and for hosting lunch or dinner events. The pavilion can accommodate around 20 - 30 people comfortably, where they can relax and overlook the farm.

Saaraketha Organic farm is our first choice for setting up Saraii, but we do plan to conduct a field survey on different locations around the island.

Check out the video that explains what Saaraketha does, this also showcases Wilgamuwa and the area Saraii will be located.

Luxury Tent Designs

So what type of accommodation should we provide our customers? We are trying to be different by giving our customers a unique experience from lodging to food to excursions. One option we are thinking of is luxury tents. Sri Lankan hotels do not provide "luxury" tents as lodging, therefore this concept would be a refreshing change to what is on offer currently. Some models I have seen around the world that we can use as inspiration is as follows -

The following lodging option is offered at thEl Capitan Canyon, in Santa Barbara,California. This is simple, inexpensive to construct and is eco friendly. Still it would be comfortable at the end of the day after a long day of fun activities. This is priced at around 130 USD per tent.

On the right is my most favourite option. Aman-i-Khas, Rajasthan, India, is a super luxury tent option. This comes with either AC or fan, king size bed, separate bathing area, etc... but is very expensive, around 750 USD per night for a double unit.

Once our team comes down to Sri Lanka, we need to find an architect/designer who can support our vision of creating a similar, environmentally friendly accommodation option. As we aim to be "truly green", i am not in favour of providing air conditioning, as it utilizes a large amount energy and would emit carbon to the environment. We also plan to use local labour and local material, in order to support the communities as well as making our lodging more authentically Sri Lankan. I'm excited about seeing what we have in our minds actually being set up on the ground... :-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Is Eco Tourism the way to go..?

Ecotourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry and currently captures $77 billion of the global tourism market. According to Travel Weekly magazine, sustainable tourism could grow to 25% of the world's travel market by 2012, taking the value of the sector up to approximately $473 billion a year (Travel, 2009).

The end of a three decade long civil war in May of 2009 has opened doors for various economic opportunities in Sri Lanka. The peace dividend coupled with growing global demand for eco- tourism has encouraged the government to make the island nation the ideal destination for eco-tourism in the South Asian region. The government is trying to increase the number of inbound tourists from around 500,000 per year currently to 2.5 million annually over the next five years (Growth, 2010).The government of Sri Lanka is also targeting USD1bn in annual tourism revenue by 2015. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Agency (SLTDA) said the industry directly employed 52,071 Sri Lankans in 2009, with another 72,899 jobs estimated to be indirectly created by the industry (Relation, 2009).

Asia is the largest source market region to Sri Lanka’s inbound tourism, followed by Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Australia, North America and Middle East. Sri Lanka attracts the largest number of tourists from India. In 2009, 447,890 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka out of which 83,634 were from India (18% of the market share). In 2009, average occupancy rate of the hospitality industry was recorded at 48.4% compared to 43.9% in 2008 (Relation, 2009).