New Hotel School To Train Much-Needed Skilled Staff
A hospitality school linked to a professional body based in the United Kingdom is stepping in to fill a gap caused by the shortage of skilled staff in the travel and tourism sector. The situation has caused concern for the last several years as the country had been plagued by terrorism for the last three decades.
According to Eraj Abeywardane, Director Sudies of the Imperial Institute of Hospitality and Leisure (IIHL), almost all in the travel and tourism sector in the island had voiced concern over the lack of trained staff.
During the conflict years, the Emerald Isle saw a drain of experienced staff moving to the Middle East and Europe. As a result training institutes have a great opportunity to fill a much needed vacuum in that area.
The school offers diplomas and higher diplomas covering Business Management, Finance, Planning, Human Resources, Marketing and Sales in collaboration with the Institute of Hospitality, a UK based professional body.
Since the end of the three-decade-old conflict in 2009 tourism sector in the island has seen a steady increase in the number of tourist arrivals and this year, the projected target is one million arrivals, up from a record 855,000 in 2011. Up to May this year the number of arrivals had reached 387,000.
According to tourism authorities, the island nation needs around 26,000 hotel rooms and 350,000 staff by 2016 to meet the projected target of 2.5 million tourist arrivals.
The new hospitality school IIHL also has plans to attract students from the Maldives, a key competitor in the region.
IIHL has invested Rs. 25 million on a state-of-the-art kitchen and other facilities.