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
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.