Sri Lanka needs 100,000 workers to staff new hotels
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan hotels will need over 100,000 new workers with the number of star-class rooms expected to more than double in the next three years, given the new projects approved, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said.
New investments in the hotel sector amounts to USD 2.8 billion in the next couple of years, he told the 39th Graduation Ceremony of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) where 90 graduates received their management diplomas.
“Needless to say these investments have put a lot of pressure on SLITHM to deliver thousands of new workers at craft, supervisory and management levels. I’m happy to note that SLITHM has risen to the challenge by producing the required numbers,” he said.
The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management, previously known as the Ceylon Hotel School & School of Tourism, trains over 6000 people in different aspects of the hospitality industry each year.
“Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing tourism industry will see the addition of nearly 17,000 star class rooms in the next three years,” Amaratunga said. “We need over 100,000 new workers to serve in these hotels.”
The total number of SLTDA registered accommodation establishments as at 31st March 2018 was 2,131. Out of this the number of classified tourist hotels was 141 and among them, 20 were five-star hotels.
“Today the total registered room inventory stands at 36,133 with classified tourist hotels in the 1 to 5 star categories having the highest inventory of 12,828 rooms,” Amaratunga said.
Amaratunga said 316 new hotel projects have been granted approval while 113 are under construction and 161 are in operation. The number of rooms for which final approval has been granted stands at 17,991,
He also spoke about the large number of hotels opening up in Colombo.
“So many hotels are opening up in the city that we may actually have to consider limiting new hotels from coming up in the future. Investors will be encouraged to open hotels away from the city,” he said.
Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management chairman Sunil Dissanayake said the hospitality industry estimates it needs nearly 110,000 new direct employees by 2020 to serve Sri Lanka’s growing visitor base.
Last year alone 5485 students of SLITHM joined the industry of whom 88 were graduates.
“This year the planned output is 7240 of whom 90 are graduates. All of them have already found employment in the industry,” he said.
“To cater to the industry manpower requirements we have expanded our reach by establishing new colleges to attract young students into the industry and train unemployed youth in rural and suburban areas.
“We have launched a structured public awareness programme for career choices. This is to develop our supply chain to create interest among school leavers to join the hospitality and tourism industries,” Dissanayake said.
(COLOMBO, June 14, 2018)