Jetwing Hotels sets sustainability example for other hotels in Sri Lanka
Jetwing Hotels is changing the image of eco-friendly hotels in Sri Lanka with the introduction of solar-power, solar heaters, and the installation of boilers fuelled by biomass and cinnamon wood. Guardian writer, Martin Wright, talks to the Chairman of the hotel group, Hiran Cooray, to find out if it's all too good to be true.
Eco friendly hotels are popping up all over the world as companies become more aware of their carbon footprint and the rise in travellers who are seeking sustainable accommodation when they go abroad.
In Sri Lanka, Jetwing Hotels is one hotel chain that is implementing changes to its properties to provide an eco-friendly experience for its guests. Guardian writer, Martin Wright, talked to the chairman of the hotel group, Hiran Cooray, in the outskirts of Sri Lanka's Capital, Colombo.
At first Jetwing's properties might not look like typical eco-friendly hotels with their bold modern design and "green" elements such as solar panels, biomass boilers, bottling plants that avoid the use of plastic bottles are tucked away out of sight from the guests.
"We started with the sewage. At that time, all the hotels sent it straight into the sea. That was normal practice," explained Hiran.
He then managed to persuade his father, the founder of Jetwing, Herbert Cooray, to set up a treatment plant and after some tough negotiations with the Sri Lanka hotel group's executive team, the plant was set up. Soon, the reputation gained by the action inspired other hotels to follow suit and a few years later, the government made sewage treatment mandatory.
"The number one attraction is the beach. If you're killing the beach, you're killing the goose that lays the golden eggs," Hiran added.
Hiran then recruited eager engineers and naturalists to help transform all of the group's luxury hotels and bring in sustainable practices. Solar heaters were brought in to heat water and save water on electricity bills, and boilers fuelled by biomass - specifically cinnamon wood - were installed.
"Cinnamon is a woody plant, and with two harvests a year, the farmers are left with a lot of waste which they have to get rid of quickly," commented Hiran.
The chain's newest hotels are set to be completely solar-powered, with many even selling surplus back to the grid, with diesel generators relegated to a backup role.
Hiran added that "the first decision a customer makes is whether to come to Sri Lanka at all." He continued that if the country as a whole has a greener reputation because other operators are going by Jetwing's example, everyone benefits and more people will visit Sri Lanka for eco-friendly holidays.
Located in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is well known for its beautiful natural landscapes and diverse ecosystems which are made up of miles of unspoilt sandy beaches, soaring mountains, wildlife sanctuaries, lush nature parks, and a collection of heritage sites that include ancient cities and colonial forts.
Talk to a specialist
Call 020 7644 1770 to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.
Opening hours 09:00 - 21:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Sri Lanka Browse all
Discover local life in a fishing village, explore rainforests, Temples and much more on Sri Lanka's West Coast, and enjoy great value for money
- All rooms include a balcony or terrace with either Partial Sea View or Ocean View
- Enjoy Yoga, Snooker, access to 2 Swimming Pools & much more
- Access to the Sahana Spa and leave your daily stress behind with the magical touch of various spa treatments
Enjoy a wonderful beachside haven of tranquillity, days of luxury and the chance to see the island's green hills carpeted by lush plantations
- All rooms feature a Balcony or Terrace with spectacular views
- Enjoy the huge selection of activities including Volleyball, Tennis, Squash & more
- Relax at the Ayurveda Wellness & Spa with the best quality services that will make your stay unforgettable
The land of endless natural beauty, with ancient sight and cultural treasure, you'll be sure to embark on a holiday of a lifetime
- Unforgettable experience at Yala Safari
- English speaking chauffer guide during the roundtrip
- Transport in a comfortable vehicle
Marvel at the Magnificent Taj Mahal and discover the Forts of Rajasthan then head south to enjoy an all inclusive beach holiday in Sri Lanka
- Enjoy a Horse Carriage & ride while visiting the Taj Mahal & Elephant Ride to Amber Fort*
- Enjoy a Rajasthani Feast in Jaipur
- Complete your stay with an All Inclusive break in Sri Lanka - Staying at the Beachside Haven Tangerine Beach
Sri Lanka has quietly become a leading tourist destination as tourists seek to soak up the sunshine that pours down on...
The Highlights of Sri Lanka Private Tour and Beach showcases some of the most cultural and historic sites in the world,...
Sri Lanka is the land of endless natural beauty, with ancient sight and cultural treasure, you'll be sure to embark on a...
Surrounded by vast paddy fields and exceptional natural beauty, the Kithala Resort is a true tropical haven as one...
Set upon Sri Lanka’s southern coast, the Hibiscus Beach Hotel offers tranquillity and seclusion at an affordable price....