Brain drain impediment to hospitality industry – Dr.Jayasinghe
By Harischandra Gunaratna
Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality, Dr. Harsha Jayasinghe on Tuesday said the brain drain in the country had not only led to a serious loss of talent but also hampered the industry’s ability to provide high-quality services and meet the demands of national and international visitors.
Speaking at the 31st AGM of the Institute of Hospitality Sri Lanka at Movenpick Colombo, Dr. Jayasinghe said Sri Lankans were leaving the country in droves seeking greener pastures and the hospitality industry had lost a large number trained personnel as a result, leaving the industry in dire straits.
Dr. Jayasinghe warned that if the authorities did not take immediate steps to address the issue, the country’s hospitality industry would suffer a crippling blow. He said the hotel industry played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, providing essential services and contributing to the economy. However, the shortage of skilled workers poses a significant challenge to the growth and development of this vital sector. Many skilled individuals including chefs, housekeepers, and other service staff, were leaving the country in search of better opportunities abroad.
The senior hotelier said the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka had a tremendous potential to spur economic growth, job creation, and cultural exchange. Stressing the importance of addressing the challenges of security concerns, infrastructure limitations, sustainable practices, and skilled labour shortages, the Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality said:
“In my opinion, inadequate road networks, unreliable public transportation, and a lack of proper waste management systems can deter tourists from exploring the beauty of our country. Investment in infrastructure development is crucial to attract and accommodate more visitors, ensuring their comfort and convenience during their stay.
“Moreover, the lack of skilled human resources in the tourism sector poses a significant challenge. It is essential to invest in training programmes to enhance the skills and knowledge of those working in the industry, including tour guides, hotel staff, and service providers. By providing quality training and education via SLTDA, CHSGA and Institute of Hospitality Sri Lanka from other relevant Hotel schools (NSBM etc.), we can ensure that our visitors have a memorable experience, leading to positive reviews and recommendations, ultimately boosting tourism.
“Lack of skilled labour in Sri Lanka’s hotel industry and the concerning trend of skilled workers migrating elsewhere is a grave problem when it comes to boosting tourism objectives of the Government. This matter highlights the importance of investing in training programs and the significance of hotel schools in preparing the youth for rewarding careers in the hospitality sector.
“IH & CSHGA, NAITA, TVEC help bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Students are exposed to real-world scenarios and industry-specific challenges, enabling them to develop problem-solving abilities and adaptability. Moreover, hotel schools, IH and NAITA often collaborate with established hotels and resorts, providing students with internship opportunities that further enhance their practical skills and expose them to the inner workings of the industry.
“I am proud to announce that IH Sri Lanka has taken an active role in organising training programmes covering different sections of the Hospitality Industry. In 2022/2023 region-wise trainings were conducted for Hotel Staff and Military Personnel on Food & Beverage, Housekeeping and Front Office services”.
“Institute of Hospitality contributes to the overall professionalism and reputation of the hotel industry. Hotel Schools are producing well-trained graduates, these institutions elevate the standards of service and hospitality, attracting more tourists and improving the country’s image as a desirable destination. Skilled workers who have received quality training are more likely to provide exceptional customer experiences, leading to positive reviews and repeat visits, thus contributing to the success and sustainability of the industry.”
Dr.Jayasinghe was re-elected Chairman of IH Sri Lanka unanimously for a second term.