Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
The visitors gain Authentic experiences by living with local community and learn about the poverty and thus the exploitation of local environment for their livelihood. The number of locally recruited staff, trained and educated based on a method to base their training on their natural sense of hospitality and skills. Through their training and as acting as an example of another viable livelihood, the locals see value in reforestation and conservation. The project is in an area where the locals lack the will and the foresight as to why such efforts must exist, in that sense, even a handful of locals as to why and how will be a tremendous asset to this remote community.
Through the use of traditional architecture, cuisine and lifestyle, we are instilling a new sense of enriching their locale. There is no negative impact from our existence, only the positive. Next problem is that farming often is serving as an excuse for hunting wildlife. We have turned it around 180 degrees and the land we are using has since become protected forest land. With no electricity, use of local wells and accommodating only 4 to 8 guests at a time, there is little to no footprint hence we maximize positive impacts. Based on our vision combined with long-term staff training it is our realistic ambition to develop a world class ecotourism attraction that can match any ecotourism experience worldwide.
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
The vision is to implement a vision about “Community based conservation of wild elephant habitat outside national park”. An wilderness area which would otherwise be lost as an important wild area of not only great natural beauty and dryzone biodiversity hotspot. The area is under serious threat Tree Tops is lobbying to prevent that the area outside the park is developed as sugar cane farming area as this would mean nature is finished and elephants would be in deep troubles as they cannot resist breaking into sugar cane fields from that park side. When they roam into fields they will be shot at and might be killed.
Simply we are working for another vision – conserve the environment and use this patch of unique wilderness inhabited by wildlife and people as a fascinating and attractive area for tourists.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?
The Tree Tops Jungle Lodge operation is based on dreams of doing business with a purpose. We are a privately owned lodge trying to preserve the land that the locals have been exploiting. The entire lodge is based on a biodiversity centered community development concept. Our location and the experience we offer is promoted as ‘reality tourism’ and ‘simple living’ with nature. The accommodations are fashioned in the traditional Sri Lankan style and the locals who are hired on a daily basis welcome our visitors. Tree Tops Jungle Lodge is working for protecting the surrounding forest and wildlife by providing alternatives to the traditional lifestyle of slash and burn agriculture and exploitation of the forest. We have reforested the devastated land which has since become protected forest to lead by example of how incomes can be earned through preservation of the natural beauty. All staff is from the local area and based on their local knowledge, visitors can “live” in the wilderness in ancient Sri Lankan style. This concept is ideal if you want to involve the local people and use their traditional skills and not for those seeking to be cushioned from the real lives and traditions of the locals.
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
Since we are a private sector business and self-funded we are depending on the success of the business. We can hope to create results. But it would be artificial to write down a break down of ‘expected results’ of the business over the next three years, and especially that would be impossible to do for each year separately. We are not funded and cannot make blue-print programs as if we were a funded venture.
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
Lobbying for community based environmental conservation projects