ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday November 4, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 23
Financial Times  

Fewer Sri Lankan women getting into tourism

The number of Sri Lankan women entering the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka is rapidly diminishing, officials say.

Announcing a new initiative of the Tourism Ministry to secure at least 10,000 employment opportunities for semi-skilled Sri Lankan youth in Gulf States hotels, Deputy Minister of Tourism Faizer Musthapa told a press conference in Colombo that according to currently available statistics, the existing hotels as well as the new hotel projects that are coming up in the Gulf region require a minimum of 75,000 skilled level staff.

He added that Sri Lankan rural youth especially women should be encouraged and geared to take up this golden opportunity. The Deputy Minister said that the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) has already launched a new training programme to train rural youth to equip them with entry level skills to secure employment at international class hotels in Gulf states.

Two batches of 280 youths have already been trained at the Kandy Satellite Campus of the institute and the third batch of 60 youths has already registered with the SLITHM Kandy campus. He disclosed that there were only three girls in these three batches of 340.

Musthapa emphasized the need to create awareness among women to enter this field as the earning capacity of hotel staff is much higher than domestic workers in the Middle East.

Head of the SLITHM Kamal Hapuwatte said that plans are underway to conduct training programmes at their regional campuses in Anuradhapura, Bandarawela and Matara commencing from next year.

The target is to place a minimum of 2,000 skilled staff in Gulf hotels by the end of 2008.

The placement programme is jointly undertaken by the Ministries of Tourism, Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare.

Hapuwatte noted that women are reluctant to join the tourism sector mainly due to some misconceptions about the industry planted in the minds of the people.


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