200 principals from schools across the island, including schools offering the technological stream in their curriculum, participated in the program. The forum comprised of two sessions with resourceful panel discussions drawing attention on the importance of nurturing skilled employment in Sri Lanka and the seamless opportunities in the Hospitality sector for youth.
As the third largest foreign exchange earner and the second largest net foreign exchange earner in the country, Tourism has played a pivotal role in generating a significant number of direct and indirect employment. With its well defining competitive attributes, it is regrettable that contemporary youth are unaware of the true potential and seamless opportunities offered by the Hotel sector, leading to a formidable challenge in attracting the local youth to enter the industry and reap myriads of benefits.
Addressing the gathering, Sanath Ukwatte, President- The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) said, “This event was undoubtedly one of the most successful events we have organized to achieve our objective of attracting the youth to join the Hospitality Industry. As the President of THASL, I appeal to all hoteliers to offer internship programmes at hotels to young students during their school holidays. This will instil an interest in travel and tourism in students from a young age.”
“Hotels should organize hotel visits for school students on a regular basis, where they will be enlightened on hotel operations. This is the greatest effort you can make to encourage our youth to take Hospitality as a career opportunity in due course. Most of all our call goes to the Government and Ministry of Education to pay urgent heed to our request of looking at introducing Travel and Tourism as a subject from Year 6 onward.” Ukwatte said.
In its endeavor to elevate Sri Lanka as the ideal travel destination in the world and Tourism as the No.1 net foreign exchange earner in the country by 2020, THASL aims to spearhead a number of such impactful and interactive forums in the near future, across the nation.