Sri Lanka dragonflies draw eco-tourists

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrives with flowers to receive blessings at the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday 4 April 2018. On wednesday (4), Wickremesinghe survived a no-confidence motion in the Sri Lankan parliament with a 46 vote majority after a 12-hour debate with 122 MPs voted in his support while 76 MPs voting to remove the prime minister. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Feb 16, 2008 (LBO) – An insect with large multifaceted eyes and two pairs of transparent wings on an extended body is luring tourists to Sri Lanka and helping a specialist eco-travel firm earn big bucks.

“We had people coming into Sri Lanka just to see dragonflies,” Jetwing Eco Holiday’s chief executive Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne said.

“Ten years ago nobody would have thought that dragonflies would be a tourism product.”

Jetwing says its ability to earn a profit of one million rupees from dragonflies alone shows the scale of economic activity that is possible in marketing specialized wildlife products like birds, butterflies and dragonflies in the country.

“Imagine, if you had 100 different companies having five specialist products like this which would make a million rupees each. That’s 100 million rupees profit,” Wijeyeratne said.

Sri Lanka is identified as a top destination for nature tourism and is one of the world’s 25 bio diversity hotpots.

The island is also listed amongst the few hyper biodiversity hotspots in terms of species density per 1,000 square kilometers.

It is amongst