In the Spotlight – Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka





Heritance Kandalama overlooks the eighth wonder of the world – the rock fortress of Sigiriya. It sits at the heart of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, close to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Ranjith Kumarasinghe, Manager HR shares with SOST the key features of this eco-resort, and what it means to be a WARTA Winner.

What was the motivation behind setting up Heritance Kandalama?

Heritance Kandalama was established by Aitken Spence, a leading player in the hotel, travel and maritime industries, logistics solutions and the power generation sector in Sri Lanka since 1868.

The management wanted to establish a good hospitality destination in the cultural triangle area since it did not have any hotel. Further, the management was keen to move towards a more sustainable tourism business model with embedded environmental friendly concepts, as well as social and cultural benefits to the community.

What is your Sustainable Tourism philosophy?

Heritance Kandalama commenced operations in 1994 after two controversial years of construction. The resort was a masterpiece designed by Deshyamanya Geoffrey Bawa and was built overlooking the 8th Wonder of the World, the famous ‘Sigiriya Rock Fortress’ from one end and the famous Dambulla Rock from the other, together with a picturesque view of a man made lake, whilst safe-guarding the delicate eco system and environment. Heritance Kandalama to date is recognized as a global case study for green architecture, sustainable construction and operation.

There is a famous Sri Lankan saying “Fruits of the Village to the Birds of the Village” to explain sustainable business. Aligning to the above, Heritance Kandalama believes that when a business is running in a locality, the local community should benefit from that business.

As such, our business philosophy revolves around the sustainable development of the area and the community, with emphasis on green productivity, corporate social responsibility and sustainable tourism.

What are the key features of your property and what are the Responsible Tourism practices you follow?

Heritance Kandalama has a natural preservation of 198 acres of conservation forest in its perimeter which ensures the bio-diversity is protected. The hotel lies in and conserves 58 acres of forest area, flora and fauna within the hotel. The preservation protects the origins of 11 natural streams that provide irrigation water to 34 dry zone reservoirs.

At Heritance Kandalama, a Gasifier is used to produce syngas from sustained biomass (Cinnamon & Gliricedia) and the syngas is fed to the boiler in lieu of diesel to produce steam for hot water generation and laundry operations thus saving 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere. The hotel also has a sewage treatment plant in place which treats and recycles waste water in order to be reused for irrigation and sanitary purposes.

We have established an environmental management system to address all significant environmental aspects in order to formulate objectives, targets and programmes for environmental and social sustainability performance with the commitment towards annual benchmarking and continual improvement on an year-on-year basis.