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 - 19:00 GMT
Popular Holidays In Sri Lanka Browse all
Indulge your senses in this idyllic Sri Lankan tropical getaway
- Enjoy numerous kids' activities and entertainment, giving parents a carefree experience
- Take advantage of the comprehensive leisure facilities available
- A sensuous range of treatments and therapies on offer at the Aayu Spa
Discover the beautiful Sri Lankan nature, located beside a perfect strech beach on the Island's West Coast
- Beautifully located beside a perfect stretch of sandy beach on the island's west coast
- Modern and comfortable rooms with breathtaking sea views
- Choose from the open air terrace offering delicious traditional and international cuisines
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
- Relax at the Ayurveda Wellness & Spa with the best quality services that will make your stay unforgettable
- All rooms feature a balcony or terrace with spectacular views
- Enjoy the huge selection of activities including volleyball, tennis, squash & more
Turyaa Kulutara is located in the idyllic island of Sri Lanka. Beautifully secluded and surrounded by lush vegetation,...
Sri Lanka is the land of endless natural beauty, with ancient sight and cultural treasure, you'll be sure to embark on a...
Located on Lankanfinolhu Island in the North Male Atoll, Paradise Island is one of the largest resorts in the Maldives....
There are few better places from which to enjoy the calming effect of the Indian Ocean breeze than at Avani Kalutara in...
A luxurious gem of a five-star hotel, the Heritance Ahungalla is a living piece of astounding architecture that allows...
You can enjoy the perfect beach holiday at the all-inclusive Club Dolphin hotel, whether looking for peace and quiet or...