Says integrated approach to strategy, management and reporting is critical
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
As the local tourism landscape continues to evolve at a faster pace, top industry veteran stressed it is imperative for the relevant authorities to address key challenges and formulate better policy direction without further delay.
“The national body, Sri Lanka Tourism should address the industry’s exponential growth through policy direction and zonal planning and by instituting a well-articulated method of regulating product quality,” emphasized Citrus Leisure Group Chairman Prema Cooray in his message in the company’s latest annual report.
Identifying that the industry is faced with several key challenges, including the lack of suitably trained and qualified human resources, and lack of a formal research based information to update the stakeholders real-time on developments such as arrivals, income, traveler geographies, Cooray stressed it is essential for the industry and policy to urgently address the same.
“In terms of human capital, there are many opportunities for the younger generation in the industry today, but sadly, we have failed to really capture raw talent as the hotel industry.
“My proposition is to encourage the private sector lead institutions to get accreditation from the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management, enabling wider access to industry training across the whole country,” he opined.
According to Cooray, the private sector working closely with the national body would help entice talented youngsters starting from school leavers to enter the sector by projecting its true potential.
With the nation having nature in abundance, Cooray suggested it is essential to take Sri Lanka beyond its beach, culture and adventure in order to preserve the environment as it is known as one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world.
“It is home to so many species in such a small space, therefore, travel agents should change their focus to communicate and showcase the country’s biodiversity, which is world class. While sharing Sri Lanka’s biodiversity with the rest of the world, we need to explore new places of interest which will be a tremendous platform for the industry within the necessary rules and regulations.”
Noting that the future of the industry is in sustainable tourism, Cooray advised that all efforts should be sustainable and in anyway must not harm the environment.
“Sustainability is more compelling from a financial and business point of view and with increasing pressure on all industries to be sustainable, an integrated approach to strategy, management and reporting is critical,” stressed Cooray in his message.