The Sri Lankan Rainforest EcoLodge project was seeking to diversify the tourism economy by offering a sustainable tourism product in the southern tea region outside the protected area. As Investment Promotion Officer for Nathan Associates’ Competitiveness Project for USAID, EplerWood International developed an Ecolodge Feasibility and Business Plan for a tea plantation on the border of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, which encompassed site specific, phase-by-phase development recommendations, on the basis of sustainable infrastructure that would incorporate access to the wildlife and local biodiversity with local guides. This plan included socioeconomic and specific cultural recommendations for handling the relocation of the housing area of the company’s employees.
A community forestry project was developed for the employees to manage a portion of the biodiverse, forested on private land. Benchmarking was established in cooperation with leading biodiversity experts from two local universities. The plan resulted in the Nathan Associates project winning a $900K Global Development Alliance matching award which helped to leverage $1 million in investment for the lodge from the private sector. The Rainforest Ecolodge is now open.