Need for skilled labour in hospitality sector escalates | Sunday Observer

Need for skilled labour in hospitality sector escalates

Sri Lanka will soon face the challenge of filling skilled labour vacancies in the hospitality industry with the expansion of the industry, a senior hotelier said.

“The country will find it extremely difficult to bridge the skilled labour gap in the hospitality industry and it will be a challenging task to train young people to match the needs of the industry,” Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort Operations and Finance Director Chandana Pathmakumara said.

The skills shortage in the industry will affect service standards and this will in-turn have a negative impact on tourist arrivals, he warned.

“We need to enhance language skills and train more youth to take up positions in the industry. This industry can support to bring down the unemployment rate in the country by providing jobs as there are a large number of vacancies at present,” he said.

“The degree courses offered at the local universities should be changed to suit the evolving needs of the hospitality industry.

The courses at present do not offer sufficient practical training which is very vital for the industry, he emphasized.

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country which has many tourist attractions. “We need to capitalize on this to gain the advantages of the industry where benefits trickle down to all strata of society, and iIndustry earnings remain in the country.

The industry has now become one of the key foreign exchange earners in the economy,” Chandana said.

“We need to take serious note of the skills shortage to overcome the drawbacks of the industry.

The measures taken to train more youth in the areas of hospitality management will benefit the sector in the long run and will provide a solution to the skills gap.

This will also stop the foreign exchange drain where the hotels pay to recruit foreign professionals to fill the top management posts,” he said. According to industry sources, the country will need to send more unskilled labour abroad to meet the cost of foreign recruitment.