New approach to attract youth to tourism industry | Sunday Observer

New approach to attract youth to tourism industry

The tourism industry which is currently facing a shortage of labour will look at a novel approach to attract young blood to the industry.

“We will encourage more youth to join the industry and also find ways to attract more females. The industry will be projected as a safe place to work, with equal opportunities for promotions and an attractive remuneration is paid. The industry will consider youth at skill level to train them to managerial level and make the hospitality industry a vibrant sector in the economy,” The Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte said.

“Today, the country has 22,000 star class hotel rooms in the formal sector and is expected to grow by a further 6,500 rooms by 2020. At present, the total investment is over US$ 3 billion and it is expected to further increase by US$ 1.5 billion by 2020.

This by far is the highest investment any single sector has made in the country. Furthermore, the net earnings from tourist arrivals have now exceeded US$ 3.5 billion and unlike other export industries the money earned remains within the country,” he said.

“Tourism is a highly lucrative industry for the country as it not only generates large direct and indirect employment but also attracts substantial investment, helping the country to earn much needed foreign exchange. Despite the attractive attributes offered by the industry, today’s youth are unaware of the true potential in the hotel sector,” he said.

It is time that we build the next generation of hoteliers. We need more youth in the industry and the industry have to be attractive for them. This is the only industry that gives back to the employees 10 percent of the turnover and is a lucrative sector.

However, the true potential of the industry is not yet realized, he said.

“For the first time in our industry, we have decided to identify and give due recognition to these young stars. THASL

Rising Star Award is an idea born out of that thinking and the entire industry is excited and looking forward to this grand event which is scheduled to take place on October 24 at the BMICH,” Ukwatte said.