Business Times

Harpo’s new tourism training institute opens amidst industry take-off

Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka will increase by 30% this year, according to the Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Dr. Nalaka Godahewa. Speaking at the launch of Harpo’s and OLAK School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Dr Godahewa said the looks very good for tourism in this country.

“However the industry needs to attract young people. It is of vital importance that this industry is upgraded to meet this challenge. The main drawback of the growth of this industry is its failure to attract young people to this profession. Presently around 2000 trained personnel join the industry annually.

This is far shorter than the number required to gear up for the 2.5 million tourists we targeting to attract by 2016,” he told the launch ceremony. If the expected targets are met the industry will require around 500,000 personnel to serve in the industry by 2016 as the present output of trained personnel is far lesser that the requirement. The country needs more training institutions to cater to this shortfall, he said.

Managing Director Harpo Productions, Harpo Gooneratne said, “we lack trained staff in the industry. Properly trained staff is the main requirement. Though Sri Lankans have a reputation for being very courteous training is vital. This industry is not an easy one to be in. When one considers the long working hours of this industry the stakeholder will now have to address issues of giving more facilities to attract newcomers.

However we are aiming to provide the industry with staff trained to be on par with international levels. Our courses have international accreditation. Students can avail themselves of courses on F&B services, Housekeeping, Front Office routine and basic cookery.

Providing tailor made courses to suit individual organizational requirements is another of our services on offer.”

He said they hoped that in future school curricula will include tourism and hotel management disciplines as subjects to help attract new blood to the industry.

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