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Sunday, 03 July 2016

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Tourism Institute to double output this year

The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (SLITHM), the premier education provider in the tourism and hospitality sector held its 37th graduation ceremony at the BMICH recently.

While 89 students graduated this year, Asangi Saunders was presented with 'The Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association Trophy for The Most Outstanding Student in the three-year Management Diploma for the year 2015' and Yasith Keshan Kokuhennadi received 'The Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association Trophy for The Most Outstanding Graduate of the year 2015'.


Chief guest Tourism Minister John Ameratunga with Chairman, SLITHM, Sunil Dissanayake and guest of honour Desmond Fernando at the graduation ceremony.

Minister of Tourism Development, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga said, "You are the backbone of our industry and without you we cannot achieve our targets that we are looking forward to. Tourism is a priority and this government wants to develop the sector to the extent of becoming the second highest foreign exchange earner for this country."

Minister Amaratunga said that by 2020 there will be 45,000 rooms in the hotel industry and a manpower of 300,000 will be needed to cater to this growing need. He reiterated that with the entry of the increasing number of international hotel chains the world is starting to look at Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for tourists.

Chairman, SLITHM, Sunil Dissanayake in his welcome address said, "With the appointment of new Minister of tourism John Amaratunga, Sri Lanka tourism is geared to be more responsive to the increased demands and changing trends within the global tourism market."

"This year, SLITHM has succeeded in doubling the planned output to 6,200 compared to last year's 3,100 student enrolments. This is to cater to the industry Human Resources requirements of 23560 between now and end 2017 and the Human Resources requirement by 2020, is an additional 110,000 persons," he said.

The institute will expand its operations by setting up new colleges to attract young students to the industry and train unemployed youth in rural and suburban areas.

Facilities in Hambantota, Passikudah and Negombo were set up recently and a new school in Polonnaruwa will be ready this month and in Jaffna later in the year. This is in addition to the facilities in Colombo, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Bandarawela, Ratnapura, Koggala and Kurunegala.

A Chairman and a new board of directors were appointed to the SLITHM in November last year to cater to the growing needs of the tourism sector. A Professor from the University of Kelaniya is due to have joined SLITHM as the Director General on July 1. The Guest of Honour for the night was Desmond Fernando, a Graduate of the first batch from 1967 and former Senior Faculty Member of the then Hotel School while sharing his fond memories of being a student and then a lecturer at the Hotel School said, "You have a whole sea in front of you and a bright horizon. We have to be a teacher ourselves. Which ever job you take, which ever place you work be a teacher to those who join after you. Share your knowledge with the next generation and develop yourself."

The secretary to the Ministry of Tourism Janaka Sugathdasa, the two additional secretaries Shirani Weerakoon and Deepthi Fernando, the Minister's Advisor Felix Rodrigo, the Minister's Private Secretary Lal Ratnayake, the advisor to the Prime Minister Dinesh Weerakkody, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Heads, SLITHM Board Members, Deputy Director General - SLITHM Prabodh Kulatunga, the Principals, Cluster Heads, Academic and non-academic staff, undergraduates,parents and well-wishers of the graduates were also present.

 

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