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Towards responsible and conscious luxury travel: RARE India to partner with Eco Team Sri Lanka

Eco Team Sri Lanka Founder/MD Anuruddha Bandara

RARE India has partnered with Eco Team, based in Sri Lanka, in order to promote responsible and conscious luxury travel across Sri Lanka, India, and its subcontinents.

RARE India is a collection of some of the finest boutique hotels, palace stays, wildlife lodges, homestays, and retreats of India and the subcontinent, while Eco Team is the most sought-after specialist in wildlife tourism and experiential travel in Sri Lanka. The collaboration of these two companies, known for their dedication towards lighter footprints and community-based travel, will benefit the cause of responsible tourism across the two countries.

Under this partnership, RARE India will represent Eco Team in India while Eco Team Sri Lanka will help increase RARE’s footprint in Sri Lanka. Founded as a pioneering eco and adventure tourism company in the year 2000, Eco Team has, over the years, narrowed its focus to become the most sought-after specialist in wildlife tourism and experiential travel.

Speaking about this partnership, Eco Team Sri Lanka Founder/Managing Director (MD)  Anuruddha Bandara stated: “RARE India represents unique properties, with sustainability being one of the main aspects. They represent these properties when marketing India through platforms and events.”

Touching on the concept behind Eco Team, Bandara noted: “We are a local organisation with a global focus that facilitates world-class tourism experiences and wilderness accommodation that are socially and environmentally responsible, embracing our motto to provide innovative and passionate service to our customers in a manner that is financially rewarding for our employees and stakeholder.”

Explaining some of the values of RARE India, he said: “They have a concept where they don’t acquire properties in the same area. At the same time, they have a qualifying criterion where they check if the aspects all match up with their values.”

They believe that the sustainability and conservation approach in tourism is not merely an option but a way of life. “While offering you unique, unconventional experiences and encounters, we strive to stay conscious of the sustainability of our habitat, people, and culture. You wouldn’t find the elephant orphanage, animal rides or shows, or any other experiences that exploit people or animals in our programmes,” stated Bandara.

Bandara added that at Eco Team, their products are all experience-based. “We have pioneered quite a few concepts in Sri Lanka including safari camps, bush walks, and exploring parks.” Eco Team’s collection in Sri Lanka, featuring Ahaspokuna Bush Walks Camp, Big Game Tented Safari Camps, Mahoora Tented Safari Camps, and Villa Tanderra – Tangalle are now a part of the RARE Sri Lanka portfolio. Bandara highlighted that they will be bringing in other properties onto the portfolio as well.

With five specialised accommodation brands under its umbrella, Eco Team features the most unique tented accommodations and lodges in the country. Eco Team camps are situated across the island country and near the wilderness areas, explained Bandara, adding that their safari experiences are curated to showcase Sri Lanka’s pristine wilderness areas.

On promoting sustainability, he said: “As with all the lodges and nature retreats of RARE India, Eco Team lodges provide exclusive immersions in remote wilderness areas. The Eco Team properties aim to create awareness and the need to preserve and conserve the island’s striking wildlife in a way that also ensures that future generations will continue to witness these natural treasures.”

Talking about why RARE India chose Eco Team for this partnership, Bandara explained that they were looking for a team that shared their values. Together, they hope to focus on community benefit and partnerships, conservation through tourism, minimising carbon footprints, and preserving local culture.

Eco Team also has two inbound companies in the group, one being Experiential Journey and the other being Encounters Asia. Giving us some insight into these companies, Bandara stated: “We bring clients into the company and provide complete airport solutions. What we did initially is to get appointed as the representative for RARE India.”

Regarding the partnership, Bandara said: “We are extremely delighted to get into this partnership which is a culmination of a few years of groundwork. We have brought our own tented camps and lodges and a managed property under the RARE Sri Lanka umbrella already and will be inviting some of the best unique accommodation spaces to come on board next. We are extremely optimistic that the sustainability-conscious luxury travellers in India and Sri Lanka will both benefit from our RARE partnership.”

Eco Team and RARE India will also collaborate in responsible tourism actions and initiatives, media promotions, and awareness creation. While Sri Lanka’s tourism just resumed for international travel post-pandemic, the partners will collaborate to promote their community members in the travel industry to usher in the best of responsible travel and conscious luxury.