Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa will open the Sri Lanka Tourism and Hotel Management Institute which has been built at Pallekele in Kandy. The institute, equipped with all the modern facilities, is meant to train personnel required for the programme to attract 2.5 million tourists to Sri Lanka by 2016.
The five year programme launched under the minister’s guidance in accordance with the Mahinda Chinthana vision is expected to bring an annual income of nearly three billion US dollars. Consequently the industry will create nearly 500,000 job opportunities parallel to the construction of 50,000 new hotel rooms. The number of tourist arrivals last year was 1,005,605 while the number of arrivals in January this year was 97,411.
The first school for training hotel staff under the Colombo Plan was established in 1966. The first provincial hotel school was established in two rooms of the Queens Hotel Kandy in 1992 thus providing job opportunities for young people in the area. It conducted courses on guest relations and housekeeping twice a year for 100 trainees. Later this school was shifted to another location to accommodate more students. Still only no more than 200 could be trained at this new building which was rented for the purpose.
In view of this problem Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa took steps to build the new hotel management institute at Pallekele. The building housing the institute comprises a fully furnished office complex, fully equipped kitchen for training the students, auditoriums, class rooms, restaurant, dining room, library, computer section, open air theatre, large hall for holding functions and five luxury rooms for local and foreign tourists.
According to the Kandy hotel management institute’s principal Irandi Wijegunawardena this hotel school has the capacity for training over 500 students a year. The courses include training of chefs, training in restaurant services, guest relations, hotel room management and adapting Kandyan traditions and culture to the tourism industry. This training institute is open on weekends and at night for outsiders who are keen to follow such courses. All the students gain practical experience at this institute since it also serves both local and foreign tourists as does a normal tourist hotel.
Principal Wijegunawardene said that this tourism promotion programme directed by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority(SLTDA)Chairman Bhashwara Gunaratne under Minister Basil Rajapksa’s guidance would benefit all sections of society and help to raise as never before the income levels of those connected with the industry. (MEDm/E92/D112)