Concluding the long quest for the most outstanding personalities in the hotel industry, The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) concluded the vibrant award ceremony, Rising Stars Awards 2017, on a successful note recently.
The event drew many luminaries of the industry as well as distinguished guests from various spheres to the BMICH.
This grand-scale and vibrant event was packed with lively entertainment and inspiring talks leading to the culmination of the night — the presenting of awards to the country’s most outstanding young hoteliers.
The highly competitive contest sparked interest amongst thousands of aspiring youth engaged in the hospitality sector, resulting in an overwhelming response to vie for the honours.
The competitors were pitted against one another under nine specific categories namely Concierge, Receptionist, Public Area Attendant, Room Attendant, Steward, Kitchen Steward, Bartender, Pool Attendant and Telephone Operator.
Forty six finalists were chosen following the three-month long rigorous evaluation and assessment process conducted under a panel of experts representing the industry and related disciplines.
Commenting on the occasion, President Maithripala Sirisena noted, “The tourism sector plays a key role in offering ample opportunities to the country’s youth at various levels. Organising professional competitions of this nature and scale will have a positive impact on drawing fresh blood into the tourism sector, which is one of the most rapidly growing disciplines in the country.
Elaborating further, Sirisena added, “Sri Lanka’s strategic positioning is ideal for the development of the tourism sector. Ending the internal conflict has further opened new avenues for the growth of the tourism sector. We are also experiencing an influx of tourists, as well as witnessing the establishment of world-class hotels in Sri Lanka.
Creation of new touristic zones generates a great amount of employment opportunities, which in turn gives a positive vibe on the future of the tourism sector. The Hotels’ Association of Sri Lanka has made a tremendous contribution towards uplifting the tourism sector. Therefore, I believe that Rising Stars of Hospitality 2017, which is held for the first time in Sri Lanka, will no doubt meet their objectives, spread awareness among the masses and will drive the industry towards prosperity.”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe extended his congratulatory wishes to the winners of Rising Stars Awards 2017. In his message he noted, “I am happy to send this message on the occasion of a unique initiative, which has been undertaken by the THASL - The Tourist Hotels’ Association of Sri Lanka, the apex body of the hotel sector in the country.
It is commendable indeed to recognize and reward young talent between the ages of 18 and 27 years contributing to the success of the entire industry and the country, which has now earned a reputation for being one of the ‘must visit’ holiday destinations for 2017. It is my wish to see other industries take a bold step to follow such initiatives, which will undoubtedly inspire the youth, the future leaders of Sri Lanka.”
Addressing the gathering, THASL President Sanath Ukwatte shed light upon the reason behind organising the nation-wide initiative.
“There is already a significant shortfall in respect of skilled labour into the service industry. The phenomenal growth in supply with an unprecedented number of hotels planned or under construction, this is bound to be further aggravated. It is therefore absolutely essential to attract young talent, both male and female into the industry.
We are the only industry which distributes 10 percent of our revenue amongst our employees in addition to the basic salary combined with benefits such as uniforms and free meals on duty. Furthermore, the opportunity of interacting with people from diverse cultures across the globe stand as a unique attribute of the hotel industry.”
Ukwatte further stated that the Hotels’ Association takes great pleasure in the achievements of these young stars and takes this opportunity to congratulate them on behalf of the entire industry.
“We will continue to extend our fullest support to enhance young talent to achieve career success and become the future leaders of the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka.”
The THASL is the apex body of the entire hotel industry in the country. Its membership presently stands at 200 hotels and resorts located in different parts of the country, comprising reputed international hotel brands, leading local hotel chains, proprietorships and stand-alone properties ranging from Colombo five-star city hotels to all other star categories including top-end boutique properties.