Steps will be taken to establish tourism training schools at the district level in line with President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s vision of prosperity policy Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said. Accordingly, four new hotel schools are planned to be opened this year, he said addressing a progress review meeting of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management recently.
The Hotel School, or Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management under the Ministry of Tourism, is the only and leading institution in the country to produce professionals in the field of Hospitality and Travel Industry. In addition to the main hotel school in Colombo, there are hotel schools in Kandy, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Bandarawela, Koggala, Ratnapura, Pasikudah and Jaffna.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga pointed out that the government is planning to start hotel schools covering all districts in the country. These hotel schools offer various courses related to the tourism and hotel industry. The Minister also pointed out the need to upgrade these courses to degree level courses. The Minister said that discussions are already underway with the University Grants Commission in this regard.
The Minister also instructed the authorities to introduce an introductory diploma course in addition to the existing courses for young people who are do not have GCE Ordinary Level qualifications but are employed and are interested in the field.
The number of trained and untrained service providers in the tourism sector will be increased to one million, according to the President’s policy statement. The Minister pointed out that in order to achieve that goal, there should be a change in the prevailing attitude in the country towards the new tourism sector. He said that a new methodology has already been planned for that.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga instructed that the awarding of certificates should be carried out without delay and that the courses should be started soon.
Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism S. Hettiarachchi, Additional Secretaries Waruna Samaradiwakara, Deepa Sannasuriya, Director General of the Hotel Management Institute Nadeeka Wataliyadda and a number of officials were present at the occasion.