Power Woman of the Month

Charitha Abeyratne Hettiarachchi
Founder - Chief Executive, Saraii Village

Charitha is the visionary Founder and CEO of Saraii Village ​ www.saraiivillage.com​, which is a Sustainable Tourism brand that showcases off the beaten path experiences to smart global travellers.

She’s a Fulbright Scholar and a Presidential Scholar at Colorado State University, USA and has an MBA in Global Social Sustainable Enterprise.

Charitha graduated with a first class in Business Information Technology for her BSc and worked with several blue chip corporates, such as Virtusa and MAS Holdings, before moving on to follow her passion in entrepreneurship.

The highlight of her career was her work with Saaraketha Organics, which is a socially responsible “for profit” company that was built on the principles of the triple bottom line. The experience of working in this organization catalysed her thirst for entrepreneurship that led to setting up her own Socially Sustainable venture, Saraii Village ​, while continuing to head marketing and branding initiatives for Saaraketha Organics.​

Charitha set up Saraii Village in 2012 as a pilot project and developed it to a successful model that is easily replicable. In order to extend the business model she pitched for funding through Venture Engine business plan competition in 2013 and was funded for expansion and is now backed by 12 high profile investors locally and internationally.

Saraii has now being listed as One of the Top 10 Most Extra Ordinary Tree Houses in the World by Trip Advisor in both 2014 and 2015 and is also awarded the World Luxury Hotel award in 2016. ​

As a female owned venture, Saraii has also been accredited by the UNDP as a sustainable tourism operation and she is supported by the International Trade Center of Geneva, by enabling greater access to international markets ​.​

Charitha plans to replicate this model in different locations around the country and regionally, and expand it’s portfolio of authentic experiences, expanding the brand footprint. The vision is to be a leader in the global sustainable travel trade in the next 5 years.

Charitha has been awarded as the “Young Entrepreneur of the Year - 2015” and the “Zonta Woman Achiever – 2017” for the trail blazing work she has done with Saraii Village and her inspiring entrepreneurial journey.

“My vision is to build a replicable “sustainable travel" brand that showcases the authenticity and essence of a location, which allows for contemporary smart global travellers to enjoy a responsible holiday with a minimal carbon foot print. A sustainable business model that catalyses the triple bottom line which enables social and environmental sustainability, cultural immersion and economic empowerment of local people."

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