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SLITHM launches 5 NVQ certificate training courses on adventure tourism

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  • Curriculum to include water craft operation, trekking and parachute rigger


By Charumini de Silva

With a view to standardise and develop the adventure tourism and training sector, the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) yesterday launched the adoption of five National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) certificate training courses on adventure tourism.

SLITHM took the initiative to begin the certification process under the tourism standards regulations and requirements of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) with NVQ status from Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) as the accreditation body for competency based assessment.

Accordingly the five NVQ certificate training courses on adventure tourism will include the water craft operator (power boat), water craft operator (paddle boat), trekking/hiking guides, ground control agent and parachute rigger.

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said ensuring safety of travellers was of utmost importance and the launch of the new standards and curriculum on adventure tourism would help Sri Lanka to tap new markets.

“Most of the tourists that are coming to Sri Lanka are now going to outstations. Arugam Bay and Ella have become extremely popular tourist hotspots now, with over 5,000 people visiting these destinations last month. Ella is fully booked year-round. It is important that we have better activities to cater to these travellers,” he pointed out.

The Minister also said that in most of these places there was hardly any sufficient accommodation capacities and the where majority were homestay units.

“These are all ad hoc developments in Ella and Arugam Bay. We are now stepping in to provide the necessary infrastructure to these areas with regulation to register these units in order to ensure quality and standards,” Amaratunga emphasised.

He also said that the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was very keen on developing the tourism industry as a thrust sector of the economy in generating foreign exchange and employment.

The Minister expressed confidence in achieving 2.5 million tourist arrivals and generating an income of $ 4 billion by the end of this year.

Prime Minister’s Senior Advisor Charitha Ratwatte said the tourism industry needed to take the leadership to make Sri Lanka a safer place for both local and foreign tourists.

“Tourism sector is very dynamic and I believe adventure tourism is the way to go. However, adventure tourism is inherently risky. Therefore, we must ensure to mitigate that risk as far as possible by providing the necessary safeguards. People are looking for different experiences and as service providers, regulators and policymakers, it is our job to ensure that we create environment to do it in a safe and a regulated manner,” he stated. Acknowledging that there would always be critics, Ratwatte noted that it was important to build consensus to build the industry.

“Sri Lanka has done very well in three sectors — tourism, apparel and foreign employment. It is because no government dared interfere with the policy. All stakeholders are looking for consistent policies across the board in our economy,” he added. 

Prime Minister’s Policy Development Office Director Dr. Nandaka Molagoda believes adventure tourism sector is fast emerging and has the potential to expand even further. 

He pointed out that it took more than a year to come up with these five NVQ certificate training courses on adventure tourism. 

Dr. Molagoda commended the stakeholders including Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Army, Lanka Sportreizen, SLITHM, TVEC, National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism, Miracle Sri Lanka, National Youth Core, University of Colombo and Sri Lanka Standard Institute for their support to develop the national competency standards as well as the curricula.

Noting that Prime Minister’s Policy Development Office has proposed to look at establishing a body within either SLITHM or SLTDA, he urged all stakeholders to come together to build a sustainable model to develop adventure tourism sector. SLITHM Director General Buddhika Hewawasam said that Sri Lanka was moving beyond sun, sea and sand to niche markets with specialised activities.

“Sri Lanka can be a top destination for adventure tourism. But to have the specialised activities, it is critical to adopt the global standards and best practices in the sector. I believe with the launch of the new curricula it will encourage our younger generation to enter into more interesting areas of the tourism industry apart from the hospitality sector,” he added. 

Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe 


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