Physical education and sports tourism are two different fields and the combination of these two fields can cause a massive development of Tourism in Sri Lanka. This was done for the first time by a graduate from Department of Sports Sciences and Physical Education (Faculty of Applied Sciences) of Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. He is Bharatha Rajapaksha with a BSc (hons) in Physical Education. He launched a research project during his final year on “Awareness about Injury Risk Management in ‘ACE’ (Activity, Culture, Eco) and Tourism Development among Tour Operators” with the guidance of Prof. M.S.M. Aslam and Mrs. L.R.N.D. Weerarathna.
Even though tourist attraction towards Sri Lanka is seemingly at a higher level, a huge problem persists in Sri Lankan tourism. In comparison to other countries, a considerable number of tourists visit Sri Lanka each day, but many of those tourists come from middle class backgrounds. The reason for this was taken into consideration in the research project that was carried out by Bharatha Rajapaksha. He identified the problem there. He pointed out that this happens due to the lack of risk management concepts in Sri Lanka. As Sri Lankans, so far we have only marketed the beauty of Sri Lanka. But foreigners would not visit the country solely because of the natural beauty as most people do not like to take any risks while travelling. For that, there should be proper risk management practices among the tour operators. In Bharatha’s research, he collected information about whether Sri Lankan tour operators (tour guides, tour transporters etc.) have proper knowledge about injury risk management.
According to his research, less people in Sri Lanka know about injury risk management and sports tourism. Most of the tour guides do not know about simple first aid. Therefore, as a solution for the problem, the concept of educating tour operators regarding such matters was introduced to the Central Province Ministry of Tourism and lectures regarding injury risk management are conducted nowadays. Bharatha’s next intention is to implement his concept throughout Sri Lanka with the help of the Sri Lanka Tourism Board. He also tries to persuade the government to take the knowledge regarding injury risk management into consideration when providing licenses to the tourist operators. By doing such a thing, injury risk management can be marketed while marketing the natural beauty as well and it may cause a massive development in tourism as wealthy foreigners will notice Sri Lanka. It will be a great opportunity to earn a good income via tourism industry.
Now, lecturers, tour operators, sports persons, different institutes and organizations, media companies, and university students support Bharatha Rajapaksha to improve this project. As an improvement, Bharatha Rajapaksha has started an institute for sports and leisure education. It is the first institute started in Sri Lanka for this. “School of Sports and Leisure (SSL) is the name of that institute and it provides facilities to learn about sports and leisure activities as a course. It will set a standard for this field. Bharatha Rajapaksha also tries to improve the field while working in the field as a Sports physical fitness trainer and as a tour guide as well.
In addition, Bharatha Rajapaksha can be taken as a good example for university students. Most students state that they do not have enough time to do extra activities. But Bharatha Rajapaksha has done so many extra activities during his university life and he has also completed his degree with a class. Thus, he is a great example for all of us.