Biology and Life Sciences
Received: 18 Aug 2018 , Published: 23 August 2018
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Ecotourism has become a new trend of Sri Lanka. Though Sri Lanka has a higher ecotourism potential, its actual level has not been achieved. This study was conducted to analyze the ecotourism development and impacts on rural communities in Kalpitiya by using convenience sampling method with 150 target participants. According to the results of the study, 18% of the community currently involved in ecotourism. However, there is a positive attitude among 73% of the local community towards ecotourism, while 69% of the local community is willing to participate in the perception of receiving its benefits. Further, it was observed that there was a significant relation with education (χ2=10.44, P-Value = 0.034), income level (χ2= 15.691, P-Value = 0.003) influences and willingness to participate on ecotourism. Further, there was a significant potential for the satisfactory level of tourist during their visit. However, there were some impacts influence against the success of the ecotourism development in the area, and revenue share with the community (p = 0.0089), lifestyle changes with foreign culture (p = 0.0000) and discharge of waste (p = 0.0000). These findings have indicated that more benefits have been brought to the area due to the ongoing ecotourism development activities. However, the local community is not in a position to get the real benefits of the ecotourism development due to lack of proper education, knowledge, experience, capacity etc. Overall, it could be concluded that it is necessary to have a well-planned awareness program about the community involvement in the ongoing ecotourism development activities. Therefore, the authorities should concern more about the community awareness and capacity building programs in order to deliver the benefits of ecotourism development to the local community also to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry.
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