Grant Winner - Captain Fernando (PVT) Ltd
About the Business
Captain Fernando Negombo Boat Tours has been providing eco-tourism adventures on the Negombo Lagoon and its waterways since 2015. Offering a unique and very personal experience to local and international guests, the organisation conducts a variety of different tours including a two-hour scheduled tour of the historic Hamilton Canal, fishing harbour and mangrove islands; traditional lagoon catamaran adventures; fishing culture tours; Island Feast picnics, as well as longer half and full-day tours for bird and wildlife photography, sailing regattas, sea fishing or trips to the Muthurajawela Marshes at the southern end of the lagoon.
Community, culture and the natural environment are the focus of the experience that the team at Captain Fernando shares with their guests. Their lagoon clean-up project includes rubbish collection days in co-ordination with the Negombo Municipal Council, and they also provide guests with locally made cotton shopping bags with the message “Say No Thank You to Plastic Bags” to raise awareness and to reduce plastic waste. Additionally, they plant mangroves and trees with the Department of Coast Conservation on the annual Environment Day. In recent months the team has facilitated the feeding of monkeys on the lagoon islands as part of the personal initiative of the Mayor of Negombo.
Developing Skills and Supporting Communities
The grant provided by the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance and Good Life X will allow the organisation to diversify the eco-tourism activities of their business and the Negombo location by providing guided kayaking tours around the mangrove islands of the northern end of Negombo Lagoon (and to the Muthurajawela Marshes in the future). They will also be able to train a group of local youth to be employed as guides and lifeguards for the kayak tours.
The grant will allow Captain Fernando to build and diversify their business model based on their values and interests, with existing and new customer segments. Reducing reliance on petrol engines and demonstrating the benefits of passive tourism activities to the community will have an impact on environmental sustainability. Community benefit comes from the creation of opportunities for career skills development for local youth within the community. At a time when the lagoon fishing industry is declining, this project will help promote lagoon tourism as a sustainable income source for the fishing community, preserving traditional culture and highlighting the value of the natural assets of the lagoon.
“We are a Negombo Lagoon fishing family who loves to share the tropical wilderness around us with our boat tour guests. This grant will be hugely beneficial to us, as well as the community, and we are grateful for having been selected by the Tourism Alliance and Good Life X.”
– Captain Fernando