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Intellectual Property Rights for Tourism-Related Traditional Knowledge: A Case Study of Sri Lanka

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N. S. Punchihewa

University of Colombo, LK
About N. S.
Department of Commercial Law
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Abstract

Sri Lanka is blessed with a century-old treasure trove of traditional knowledge and tourism is a key to unlock the hidden potential of Sri Lankan traditional knowledge for socio-economic and cultural development of the country. A prime example in this regard is the indigenous medical system that has existed for centuries. In today’s competitive business environment, intellectual property is the lifeblood of any industry, and protecting intellectual property assets is imperative to business success. In this sense, the intellectual property system offers the much-needed credibility for Sri Lankan traditional knowledge-based products and services. Undeniably, Ayurveda and indigenous medical systems have the potential to create unique experiences to attract tourists with a higher spending power. Moreover, historical monuments and heritage sites, cultural events, museums and other traditional knowledge-related activities are vital for promoting cultural tourism in Sri Lanka, just as traditional cultural performances constitute a source of tourist attraction and interest. Most significantly, intellectual property tools can help improve competitiveness in wellness tourism and other traditional knowledge-based sectors. It is, therefore, argued that linking intellectual property, traditional knowledge and tourism will significantly help Sri Lanka to become a 365-day tourist destination and ensure repeat visits by overcoming the elements of seasonality. Taking cognizance of the practical insights, this paper explores as to how best a carefully crafted intellectual property strategy can be utilized by traditional knowledge stakeholders to capitalize on business opportunities in the Sri Lankan tourism sector. It also highlights some of the important ways in which the intellectual property system can help position Sri Lanka as a global wellness tourism destination.
How to Cite: Punchihewa, N.S., 2020. Intellectual Property Rights for Tourism-Related Traditional Knowledge: A Case Study of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Advanced Social Studies, 10(1), pp.76–87. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljass.v10i1.7158
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Published on 30 Jun 2020.
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