ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) is to be upgraded as a degree awarding institute as it has adequate courses up to management level as well as practical training, the cabinet office said.
The minister of tourism had submitted a proposal to amend the Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005 so that the institute can be promoted into a tertiary level higher education institution.
A cabinet office statement said that although there are many universities and private institutions that conducted similar courses, they are only based on theory and do not provide field level practical training.
“Therefore, this institute has been identified as suitable for conducting degree courses in the field of tourism with adequate field training.”
SLITHM conducts courses from foundation to management level.
Tourism being one of the key dollar generators of Sri Lanka with many hotels and hospitality training institutions operating in the country, there has always been a shortage of workforce in the industry as most fly abroad for better opportunities or choose other sectors, the statement said.
‘SRI LANKA – Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Competitiveness ROADMAP 2018-2023’, is a study conducted by Private Sector Tourism Skills Committee (TSC) and published in 2018 in partnership with the USAID with the support of the mnistry and other stakeholders. It estimated that 25,000-30,000 additional employees will be required each year to service the projected increases in visitor arrivals – plus replacement for those leaving or retiring.”
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority had also estimated that the island will have an additional 20,720 registered rooms by 2020.
On top of that, according to the TSC study, the combined training programs offered by government and private training institutions only graduate approximately 10,000 students annually.
An International Labour Organisation (ILO) report published in April 2021 said: “Having a lower secondary level of education is typical for the sector and confirms evidence from elsewhere that the industry has lower entry-level requirements (Lundmark, Ednarsson and Karlsson 2014). Managers are the only group where a significant number of workers possess a postgraduate education.”
On the report’s footnote it said: “Incidentally, the low prevalence of undergraduate degree qualifications among this high-skilled worker category is because the four or five-year intensive hospitality management qualification provided by Sri Lanka’s premiere hotel school, the SLITHM, is not recognized as an undergraduate degree. At the time of the study, SLITHM was lobbying with the Ministry of Education to gain this recognition.” (Colombo/Aug10/2021)