Sri Lanka lures youth for skills gap in booming tourist trade

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

Sept 21, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is to launch a campaign to educate youth of opportunities in the booming tourist industry where a skilled labour shortage looms with an influx of visitors after the end of a war. Last year 950 million people visited globally countries that were not native to them, he said, adding that tourism was growing fast in Asia and Sri Lanka after the end of its 30-year ethnic war in 2009. “We want to encourage schools children to join the tourism industry to fill an anticipated skills gap given the rapid growth we are experiencing,” said Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, the promotion agency.

“We intend to conduct awareness campaigns throughout the island to educate school children of the job opportunities available in tourism,” he told a news conference.

The campaign will be part of a series of events to mark World Tourism Day to be celebrated on September 27 under the theme ‘Tourism – Linking Cultures’ set by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Godahewa said the tourism industry now employs about 150,000 people directly and indirectly.

But he said he anticipates more than 300,000 new jobs will be created in the next four years as the island ai