- THASL urges authorities to consider this a serious threat to industry
- Wants govt. set up basic framework for private sector to invest training centres
- Stresses State-run hotel school should up standards by partnering with int’l players
On the eve before the staging of the first edition of the ‘Rising Star Awards’ to recognize outstanding young talent in the hospitality industry, the head of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) urged the government to take a closer look at the challenges faced by the hotel industry in attracting talent.
“The authorities concerned will need to take this matter as a serious threat to the tourism industry and will have to deep dive to understand the problem and find a lasting solution,” THASL President Sanath Ukwatte said.
He said that the government will have to get the basic framework right, so that the private sector too can invest in more hospitality training centres.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Hospitality and Management (SLITHM, formerly the Ceylon Hotel School) and its satellite schools have the biggest reach in the country in training workers for the industry. Ukwatte noted that SLITHM should partner with international hospitality training partners, and pay higher salaries to attract better lecturers, in order to give Sri Lankan youth a modern, international standard training.
Sri Lanka is aiming to attract high quality tourists, but in order to place a higher price on Sri Lankan hospitality services, the quality of service has to improve.
THASL is attempting to increase motivation of Sri Lanka’s youth to deliver higher service standards, and attract more youth for the industry, by staging the Rising Star Awards today.
“To overcome these challenges the private sector is trying its very best to be more productive with new initiative and have taken a bold step forward to enhance and invest in training employees,” Ukwatte noted.
Over 500 young applicants in the hospitality industry had applied for the awards, of whom, 27 will receive felicitations.
Ukwatte said that working in Sri Lankan hotels pays just as much as working in the Middle East, and that local hotels are interested in hiring local talent, before looking overseas in markets such as India, Cambodia and Nepal to hire labour.