Helping local communities gain more from tourism remains an elusive goal in many tourism areas across Sri Lanka, not just in Yala. It is increasingly being recognized that local communities should be a stronger part of a country’s tourism industry. Not only does it directly result in community empowerment, but it also ensures the sustainability of tourism businesses especially in natural environments and rural contexts.
Nature tourism can take various forms; ecotourism, agro tourism, etc. Meaningful participation of local communities in nature tourism is vital because they have been the guardians of the natural resources in the country, including forests, over the years. The local communities possess the knowledge and understanding about the natural environment and socio-cultural context, much better than an outsider – which is an important asset for nature tourism.