Sri Lanka seeks to upgrade skills as tourism booms

Sep 06, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourism industry intends to ramp up training to meet a critical and growing skills gap amid a tourism boom after the end of the island’s ethnic war, officials said. “As the annual output of about 1,500 graduates is the industry requirement, incentives will be provided to promote skills in the industry,” according to a new tourism strategy released Monday.

Training will focus on housekeeping, food and beverage, professional cookery, and front office work, which is done by the state-run Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management.

Improving skills in related services such as for tour guides, home stay hosts and other formal and informal sector service providers, is also part of the strategy.

Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management conducts short courses to meet these requirements.

“The hotel school is now looking at a franchising model and getting private sector support for capacity building,” said Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, the tourism promotion body.

In order to meet the human resources building requirement, Sri Lanka Tourism will also work closely with other interest groups such as local authorities,