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No reason for qualified hoteliers to look for jobs overseas: Amaratunga


July 04, 2017 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Minister of Tourism Development John Amaratunga says that there is no longer any reason for our qualified hoteliers to look for jobs overseas as their income will be greater if they stay here. "Today we have a serious issue with regard to manpower in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The demand is more than the supply," he said. "This is because of the continuing expansion of the hotel sector while the youth continue to focus on the more traditional career paths as opposed to the more glamourous hospitality careers." Amaratunga says this means many lucrative job opportunities go a begging in the hospitality sector. He was speaking at the 38th Graduation Ceremony of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Colombo, Monday. Sri Lanka is now in an envious position especially with regard to its tourism industry as the arrival numbers continue to grow year on year. This is facilitated by the growing number of international hospitality brands that have entered our space in the recent past. "Even this morning I read in the papers a 2 billion US dollar investment to build a 117 storey twin tower building housing a 1200 room hotel among other facilities." "This is in addition to the currently ongoing mega projects undertaken by Hyatt, St. Regis, ITC, Marriot, Shangri-La, Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson, Silver Needle etc. among many other world class hotel chains who are currently in the process of constructing luxury hotels." The minister says that these hotels will open up thousands of opportunities for our youth and it is our responsibility to both attract and train them to take up responsible positions in these establishments. "There is a misconception among our youth especially the females that the hospitality trade is not something that is suitable for them." 'This is a baseless, ill-informed and outdated theory." Today, he says an entry level job in the hotel industry pays twice as much as any other field as a hotel employee is entitled to two monthly payments, namely the basic salary and service charge. "When these two are combined and factored along with other benefits such as free meals, accommodation, medical benefits etc. the income is much higher than other fields," "The salaries paid by the big hotel chains are now comparable to what is being paid globally."  
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