Business Times

Tourism industry builds on its manpower

Sri Lanka Tourism will be conducting an awareness creation programme in a bid to increase the numbers joining the industry during this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations islandwide.
The industry is looking at attracting increased number of youth to the industry by creating awareness of the prospects within the sector for employment opportunities, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said at a media briefing held at the Youh Affairs Ministry on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the industry is tipped to become the highest earning sector in the future adding that all stakeholders need to work together based on a shared vision and strategy. The industry faces a two-pronged challenge of creating 45,000 rooms in capacity and filling up job opportunities amounting to 500,000, he said.

Currently the industry has 150,000 within its workforce with the minimum salary of an employee within the hotel industry at around Rs. 20,000, it was pointed out. Dr. Godahewa noted that it is important to lure those intending on travelling overseas for jobs to the prospering tourism industry that holds immense opportunities.

Hotels Association President Anura Lokuhetty said there is a need to ensure that the industry’s workforce is built up and trained over a period of time in a bid to meet the growing demands within the opportunities available. In this regard, hoteliers will conduct awareness programmes among school children on the opportunities available in the hotel industry, he explained.

In a bid to attract the youth to the industry they are working with the Vocational Training Authority..
Vocational Training Authority Chairman/CEO Dhammika Hewapathirana speaking on the occasion said that due to the negative publicity most youth were not attracted to the sector due to the low level of acceptance among the people.

In this respect, they will create awareness among the rural youth to develop the manpower in line with the industry requirements, he said. The year’s World Tourism Day will be celebrated under the theme “Tourism – Linking Cultures” set by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. The main focus will be to foster awareness among the international community of the value of tourism and its cultural impact and to gain experience in understanding cultural diversity.

Across the country, the event will be celebrated with hoteliers participating in awareness creation programmes where they would brief students, prospective job seekers and parents on the potential the sector has to offer.

World Tourism Day in Colombo, islandwide
World Tourism Day will be commemorated around the country in all provinces with the main event scheduled to take place in Colombo on September 27 and 28. The key focus of this year’s event organised in Sri Lanka will be to empower youth and encourage them to join the hospitality industry with its vast scope and opportunities. At this year’s celebrations nearly 1000 school children will participate in the painting of a one kilometre length of wall alongside the Beira Lake on the topic of future of Colombo as they would see it. This is set to be another first and will be called the “Colombo Wall”.

Culinary art work will be on display in addition to indicating to visitors the basic facets of the hospitality industry that involves housekeeping, front office, F&B and through this they hoped to obtain community participation.

The Chefs Guild noted that a key feature would be that kids will get the opportunity to witness a demonstration of a functioning kitchen. It was pointed out that they would encourage the schools to have the Home Science subject included for boys as well in order to attract them to joining this profession.

Ethnic cooking will also be demonstrated as per the recipes of renowned Chef Pubilis Silva from the different communities in the country namely Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Malays and Veddhas. The Postal Department will be geared to issue 10 stamps as well on this day in commemoration of the event and it will also be the first time that a large number of stamps are being introduced as well. Cultural art and crafts of traditional value will be on display with the support of Laksala.

Another key attraction will be a Water and Light show four times a day on both days. Timings are 7.00 pm - 7.15 pm, 7.30 pm – 7.45 pm, 8.00 pm – 8.15 pm, 8.30 pm – 8.45 pm. This is aimed at attracting more to join the hospitality industry without leaving Sri Lanka as well.

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