To compete with regional destinations:
Upgrade expertise in hospitality industry
The country should focus attention on skills development in the
hospitality industry to compete with regional destinations.
An essential ingredient in this regard is to upgrade the expertise in
the industry in all sectors and provide professional training and
exposure, Galle Face Hotel General Manager and Galle Face Hotel
Management Co. Ltd. Leisure Division Vice President, Chandra Mohotti
told Daily News Business. Sri Lanka is a relatively new destination in
Although Sri Lanka was at one time, the most sought after
destination, it is necessary that we maintain high professionalism in
services in all sectors comparable or exceeding the standards of other
high profile popular destinations in this region, he said.
There was major impediment in tourist arrivals over the past 25
years. The fear caused by terrorists resulted in the security situation
deteriorating. Whatever efforts made to propagate tourism and increase
the number of arrivals, which could have also included corporate
business travellers, were not possible. Recurrent security concerns such
as bomb attacks gave Sri Lanka a bad reputation.
There were also other relatively minor impediments such as
non-development of infrastructure such as roads, gradual decline of
expertise in the hospitality industry due to people going for more
lucrative markets for higher management category and entrepreneurs being
reluctant to invest money in new projects and upgrading the existing
projects and lowering of the standards in infrastructure, buildings,
human resources and training, he said.
Since terrorism has been successfully eliminated there has been a
euphoria in the industry and gradual building of confidence. The results
are already being felt over the past six months with the upward trend in
hotel occupancy and increase in the number of arrivals, he said.
However, a great deal of work remains to be done to consolidate this
new found freedom which will have a positive effect on the industry.
Upgrading the tourism related infrastructure such as roads, hotels and
lodging facilities, transport system including domestic air travel,
entertainment and other facilities that add to value is vital, he said.
Steps should be taken to improve the quality of services provided by
all tourism related institutions such as airport, immigration,
transport, hotels, travel agents and even Government institutions,
police and healthcare. There should be a change of attitude in these
institutions to be helpful and friendly.
It is also necessary to target high profile travellers and with these
enhancements. Regional and budget travellers should also be catered to
as a value for money destination, he said. SJ