A top Sri Lankan tourism industry official this week claimed that that tourism is more about glamour and hype than being an industry.
Dr Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT), speaking during the signing of an MOU between Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AmCham) on training youth on tourism, said that he did not consider tourism so much as an industry, nevertheless, it is extremely important to a country like Sri Lanka due to many reasons.
He said that though Sri Lanka had been very well known internationally since ancient times, that popular sentiment has diminished due to war in the last 30 years. Tourism could change this unpopular negative propaganda as and when tourists come from all parts of the world and when it happens, it would be more powerful than any other advertising, he said.
Vijaya Ratnayake, President, AmCham, said that they have agreed to cooperate with SLFI in providing expertise drawn from its membership and other resources to carry out these courses. He said that they have agreed to prepare syllabuses and develop the curriculum for various certificate courses in specific areas in tourism, travel and leisure.
Kenneth A Kero-Mentz, Commercial Attaché and Economic Affairs, US Embassy in Sri Lanka was also present.