SLITHM’S ROLE IN HELPING TOURISM
Ministry of Tourism Development
and Christian Religious Affairs
February 20, 2017
SLITHM’s Leading Role Comforting For Tourism Industry
With Sri Lanka achieving 2 million arrivals for the first time in its history last year and the numbers expected to grow this year, the country’s hospitality industry is facing the challenge of a serious manpower shortage. However the country’s premier tourism and hospitality industry trainer is optimistic that the issue is well under control.
“At the rate the hospitality industry has been expanding in the past few years it has no doubt been a challenge to prepare a skilled workforce to feed the industry. It is therefore noteworthy that SLITHM, which is the premier national institution tasked with training personnel for the hospitality industry has taken up the challenge in a positive spirit by increasing its annual output without compromising on the quality of its products,” noted Minister of Tourism Development, John Amaratunga speaking on the success of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs.
SLITHM formerly known as the Ceylon Hotel School, has been in the forefront of training personnel for the hospitality industry across all levels from job specific craft courses to high caliber professionals not only to meet national demands but also global requirements. In the process SLITHM achieved a record in the year 2016 by training the highest number of students in a calendar year.
Whereas the combined intake for all courses in the year 2015 was just under 3000, in 2016 this figure rose to well over 5000. The intake was as follows – 162 students for three year Management Diploma, 46 and 52 students for Advanced Level and Intermediate Level courses in the four year Diploma and 1915 and 1169 students respectively in the Certificate and Craft Level courses.
Apart from this a further 263 National & Chauffer Tour Guides have been bestowed with sound skills and knowledge, 396 individuals have trained in Pastry and Bakery, Laundry Operations, refresher courses, area guide programmes, Kitchen Assistants and other special programmes, while 895 individuals have been trained through Apprenticeship courses targeting skill level jobs.
Further, in order to meet the immediate manpower demands of the industry, SLITHM conducted Apprenticeship courses in locations such as Hambantota, Polonnaruwa, Bakamuna, Tissamaharama and Negombo in addition to the SLITHM facilities located in various parts of the country.
In accordance with the 2016 Budget, 650 individuals were trained by private sector institutions under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs through SLITHM which monitored training quality and provided necessary resource assistance for the successful completion of the programmes.
Meanwhile keeping with industry requirements, Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management developed a syllabus and introduced a specialized course in hospitality finance namely, Certified Hospitality Finance and Management Accountant Professional Qualification (CHFMA) in collaboration with the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (CMA) of Sri Lanka. This new course was introduced recently to strengthen the professional credentials of hoteliers in the field of Hospitality Finance.
SLITHM has been striving to upgrade the standard of education in the tourism and hospitality industry through international collaboration. In this regard it has collaborated with the Governments of Netherlands and Australia, and the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) to review and enhance course curricula, English language skills and improve quality of faculty through capacity building.
Marking a significant milestone, 131 fully fledged hospitality professionals graduated from SLITHM last year. This is the highest number of graduates to pass out from the institution in a single batch since its inception 50 years ago. All of these graduates have secured employment in senior management positions.
Meanwhile in order to cater to the growing demand for trained personnel, SLITHM established new schools in Jaffna and Polonnaruwa in 2016 enabling SLITHM to reach out to a wider section of the youth population who are eager to step in to the glamorous world of hospitality.
The professionally qualified faculty of SLITHM most of who are alumni of the institution, are constantly encouraged to further their education and are offered scholarships in countries such as the USA, China, Germany and Korea.
In its pursuit of all-round excellence, SLITHM has not only focused on improving its Human Resource capacity but also improving training infrastructure through upgrading of existing facilities to international standards at its main facility in Colombo and provincial colleges. A significant feature has been the addition of a new floor consisting of seven state of the art classrooms at the SLITHM facility in Colombo, gearing it up to further consolidate the increase in student numbers.
With Sri Lanka’s tourism industry moving in to top gear with the anticipated arrival of a number of new international hotel brands alongside a record number of visitors in 2017, SLITHM is poised to continue its leading role in guiding the destinies of the nation’s tourism and hospitality industry.