Today, the world comes together to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day, under the theme ‘Tourism - Linking Cultures’ set by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
The main focus of this year’s theme is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its cultural value, and also on how travel promotes the experience and understanding of cultural diversity.
Travelling, whether it be trekking through the jungles exploring wild life or nature, relaxing on a beach, visiting a heritage site, has become a widespread past time , reaching across nations in all continents.
Approximately 940 million people globally, visited a country not native to them last year, exposing them to the delights of foreign cultures in their various forms.
This has also helped different cultures bridge gaps and even in promoting dialogue between people.
Sri Lanka, with a rich history and vibrant culture, home to some of the most celebrated cultural heritage is joining hands with the rest of the world in celebrating the 31st annual World Tourism Day.
We too, join hands with the rest of the world in celebrating this years’ theme ‘Tourism – linking cultures’, emphasising also on the importance of Human Resource factors in the hospitality and tourism industry, as Human Resources is considered the pulse and the heartbeat and industry’s raw material.
Tourism basically being a service industry, a developing destination like ours, must take the necessary steps to build a pool of efficient trained people to fill various jobs that would be created to look after and manage various tourist services.
Special attention, therefore, should be given to the needs of manpower and personnel to be trained and rendered qualified for the various tourism professions, mainly in the hospitality sector.
With, the President setting an ambitious target of 2.5million tourists by 2016 and considering the conducive environment that has been created, coupled with the strength and potential, Sri Lanka is definitely going to show a strong growth in tourism, in the years to come. The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka and the Vocational Training Authority recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to train more people for the hospitality industry using the VTA network, to ensure that a sufficient workforce will be trained to meet up with the challenges in 2016, given the industry requirement of 500,000 trained employees as against the current figure of 150,000.
In order to achieve the human resource requirement, The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka has taken a giant step to take sufficient awareness regarding the benefits of tourism for the economic development of Sri Lanka.
With the cessation of the decades old war and the expectation of the government to bring in 2.5 million tourists to the island by the year 2016, and four million by 2020, we, the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, is happy in taking the message across to the youth, in making ‘Hospitality’ their preferred choice of career. Thank you.