Entrepreneur, Niche Tourism Specialist, Management Trainer, Adventurer
Anuruddha Bandara, also known as AB, founded the Eco Team group – a company which has grown to become the most diversified tourism specialist group in Sri Lanka. Prior to finding his calling in life, he worked as a Trainee Executive in a leading insurance company and rose to the ranks of Sales Manager. His typical career path back in the late ‘90s included everything from Water Cooler Talks to Sales Calls. However, since childhood, he always knew his purpose belonged to the jungles outside the concrete ones. In the year 2000, his passion for nature, adventure, and Eco Tourism (inculcated in him from his younger days) eventually pushed him to resign from a lucrative post. From then on, AB’s career path included Water Holes and a very real Call of the Wild as he set out, with only the tools of an Entrepreneur, to become a sustainable adventure specialist, and inadvertently change the tourism landscape in Sri Lanka.
The risk paid off as, today, Eco Team comprises ten niche, award-winning tourism brands, renowned for Specialised Accommodation / Experience-based In-bound Tourism, MICE, and Eco & Adventure Tourism.
AB’s journey simply started with an idea that wasn’t present in Sri Lanka. He set out to pioneer Mobile Tented Safari Camps in Sri Lanka, with the introduction of the revolutionary Mahoora Luxury Safari Camps in 1998. Today, not only is it the ultimate luxury tented camp brand in the country, it’s also the first ever mobile tented luxury safari camp in the world to be completely carbon neutral. Ahaspokuna Bush Walks Camp, which he started in 2017, was the first ever bush walks camp in Sri Lanka. At its inception and even today, sustainability has been the lifeblood of both ventures.
Shortly after, and together with extremely talented individuals from Sri Lanka and overseas, he established two Destination Management Companies in Sri Lanka – Encounters Asia and Experiential Journeys, to cater to high-end experiential travel and mid-range local experience-based travel respectively.
AB always believed that the path to following one’s passion has its windfalls. With hard work and a bit of luck, in 2001 he became one of the three pioneers in Sri Lanka to establish experience-based corporate training. Growing from this experience, he started Beyond Boundaries Global (Pvt) Ltd. Shortly after the business took flight, it became the most sought after, innovative, and unconventional MICE operator and experience-based Team Building and Leadership Training outfit in the country.
His latest ventures cater to Property Management, Information Technology and Trading.
Today, as the Founder and President of the Sri Lanka Wilderness Foundation, AB has taken his passion for environmental conservation and sustainability to a nationwide platform. One of his numerous career highlights is serving as a consultant and a panellist to the Private, NGO and Government sectors, including The Ministry of Tourism, on various niche tourism initiatives.
Honouring the leadership provided in Conservation and Generation of Employment & Sustainable Development of Tourism in Sri Lanka, AB was adjudged the winner of the Environmental Leadership category in the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Sri Lanka Awards in 2009 [TOYP -2009].
For higher recognition of innovation and business leadership demonstrated over a decade, he was awarded the Presidential Award for Most Outstanding Individual of the Year in 2010. This award has not been presented to any other individual since.
Looking to the future, he believes that his biggest adventure is yet to begin. After all, change doesn’t happen once; change is simply the process of evolution.