Over 100, 000 new job open­ings in hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, says Tourism Min­is­ter

„New in­vest­ments in ho­tel sec­tor amounts to US $ 2.8bn „Ad­di­tion of nearly 17,000 star-class rooms in next 3 years

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - LIFE -

New in­vest­ments in the ho­tel sec­tor amount­ing to US $ 2.8 bil­lion will re­quire thou­sands of newly trained work­ers in the next cou­ple of years. This was re­vealed by Min­is­ter of Tourism De­vel­op­ment and Chris­tian Re­li­gious Af­fairs, John Amaratunga at the 39th Grad­u­a­tion Cer­e­mony of the Sri Lanka In­sti­tute of Tourism and Ho­tel Man­age­ment (SLITHM) which was held at the BMICH this week.

A to­tal of 90 grad­u­ates re­ceived their man­age­ment diplo­mas on the oc­ca­sion. The Chief Guest at the cer­e­mony was Min­is­ter John Amaratunga while the Guest of Hon­our was Jetwing Ho­tels Chair­man Hi­ran Cooray.

“The to­tal in­vest­ment value of new ho­tel projects is es­ti­mated at US $ 2.8 bil­lion. Need­less to say these in­vest­ments have put a lot of pres­sure on SLITHM to de­liver thou­sands of new work­ers at craft, su­per­vi­sory and man­age­ment lev­els. I’m happy to note that SLITHM has risen to the chal­lenge by pro­duc­ing the re­quired num­bers,” he said.

SLITHM, pre­vi­ously known as the Cey­lon Ho­tel School and School of Tourism, is Sri Lanka’s pi­o­neer hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism train­ing provider. It was es­tab­lished by the Gov­ern­ment of Sri Lanka in 1966 by an Act of Par­lia­ment in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ILO).

Its main pur­pose is to train young men and women in the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity field. SLITHM presently op­er­ates un­der the purview of the Min­istry of Tourism De­vel­op­ment & Chris­tian Re­li­gious Af­fairs and trains over 6000 in­di­vid­u­als in dif­fer­ent as­pects of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try each year.

Speak­ing at the cer­e­mony Min­is­ter Amaratunga drew at­ten­tion to the need for trained hote­liers. “Sri Lanka’s rapidly grow­ing tourism in­dus­try will see the ad­di­tion of nearly 17,000 star­class rooms in the next three years. We need over 100, 000 new work­ers to serve in these ho­tels.

The to­tal num­ber of SLTDA reg­is­tered ac­com­mo­da­tion es­tab­lish­ments as at 31st March 2018 was 2,131. Out of this the num­ber of clas­si­fied tourist ho­tels was 141 and among them, 20 were five-star ho­tels,” he noted.

“To­day the to­tal reg­is­tered room in­ven­tory stands at 36,133 with clas­si­fied tourist ho­tels in the 1 to 5 star cat­e­gories hav­ing the high­est in­ven­tory of 12,828 rooms. Mean­while 316 new ho­tel projects have been granted fi­nal ap­proval while 113 are un­der con­struc­tion and 161 are in op­er­a­tion. The num­ber of rooms for which fi­nal ap­proval has been granted stands at 17, 991,” ex­plained Min­is­ter Amaratunga.

He also spoke about the large num­ber of ho­tels open­ing up in Colombo. “So many ho­tels are open­ing up in the city that we may ac­tu­ally have to con­sider lim­it­ing new ho­tels from com­ing up in the fu­ture. In­vestors will be en­cour­aged to open ho­tels away from the city,” he said.

Guest of Hon­our, Chair­man, Jetwing Ho­tels, Hi­ran Cooray made a pas­sion­ate plea to stop the over pro­mo­tion of tourism sites that leads to over vis­i­ta­tion and sub­se­quent sus­tain­abil­ity is­sues. He sin­gled out Yala and Si­giriya as ex­am­ples of this and called on the in­dus­try to fo­cus on pro­mot­ing less vis­ited ar­eas.

He high­lighted Jetwing’s in­vest­ment in Well­awaya as an ex­am­ple of tak­ing tourism to un­tapped ar­eas. He noted that re­spon­si­ble tourism was the key to sus­tain­abil­ity of the in­dus­try which whether pro­moted or not will con­tinue to grow in the fu­ture.

In his ad­dress SLITHM Chair­man Su­nil Dis­sanayake fo­cused on SLITHM’S rich his­tory of in­no­va­tion, growth and change.

Min­is­ter of Tourism De­vel­op­ment and Chris­tian Re­li­gious Af­fairs, John Amaratunga speak­ing at the 39th Grad­u­a­tion Cer­e­mony of the Sri Lanka In­sti­tute of Tourism and Ho­tel Man­age­ment

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