Sri Lanka tourism slumps throws thousands out of work

Oct 17, 2007 (LBO) – Five thousand experienced hotel workers are out of work due to the tourism downturn, according to the managers of Sri Lanka’s top hotel school who are now training people to find work abroad. Hotels are unable to hire new staff as tourist arrivals have fallen 22 percent in the first eight months of this year.

“There are approximately over 5000 workers out of their jobs, who have worked in hotels and are skilled workers,” says Kamal Hapuwatte, Principal of the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management.

With over seventy five thousand vacancies opening up in the Gulf region the state backed hotel school, which has five centers island wide, is training up to 2000 hospitality professionals each year, many of whom will travel to the Middle East.

“After getting some experience here I have to go abroad, other wise I won’t get a good exposure,” Udara Perera, a student from the hotel school, said.

Each year, the two thousand students who join one of the schools six training centers in Banadarawela, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matara, Anuradhpura and Colombo are trained in all aspects of hotel work.

Over 200,000 hoteliers that work here and abroad are graduates of the hotel