Young Tourism Ambassadors Initiative concludes in Jaffna | Daily News

Young Tourism Ambassadors Initiative concludes in Jaffna

Young Tourism Ambassadors in Jaffna
Young Tourism Ambassadors in Jaffna

The Jaffna edition of the Young Tourism Ambassadors Initiative ended successfully recently and 15 young men and women from the Jaffna area were exposed to everything from flambécooking to waste management in this pilot programme.

It was hosted by the Private Sector Tourism Skills Committee (TSC) in partnership with Jetwing Hotels Jaffna and supported by YouLead, a project funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Deputy Chair of the TSC and Managing Director of Jetwing Travels, Shiromal Cooray said, “Jetwing is one of the strongest players in inclusivity having already developed five General Managers and has a three-fold higher representation of women than most of the others in the industry.”

She said, “This is one industry that globally has a skew to women averaging at least 60%. It is sad that Sri Lanka with its high level of education and gender equity has not surmounted the inclusion of women into hospitality with a dismal figure of 8% average for women in tourism.We can and must do better.”

The Young Tourism Ambassadors Initiative programme follows the recent release of the TSC’s Sri Lanka Tourism and Hospitality Workforce Competitive Roadmap 2018-2023 developed to enhance the competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality workforce.

The Ambassadors observed how to conserve Sri Lanka’s natural heritage and promote nature –not just how to engage and entertain a visitor.

A.M. Lourdeshanah, 19, who took part in the programme said, “This programme helps me to gain more knowledge, not only about the hospitality management and tourism, but also the other skills. Our thinking about the hospitality sector is more different than before we came here I think it’s a blessing to get this opportunity.”

The initiative also introduced the parents to the modern tourism industry, inviting them for an overview of both the hotel and the programme. One of the key challenges to the industry has been the prevailing perception that tourism and hospitality is not a desirable field to enter especially for females. Parent participation allows them to see first-hand the jobs available to their children and the working environment.

Jaffna’s youth are still emerging from the horrors of a 30 yearcivil war and a lack of access to television, radio and electricity for a large part of their formative years. The young ambassadors knew little about what Jaffna and the north offered in terms of tourism.

It was an entire new world of opportunity that had never been part of their choice set.

“It was indeed a very rich and rewarding experience to interact with these youngsters for the past eight days,” said Srilal Miththapala, the lead trainer and chief architect of the programme.

The Young Tourism Ambassador Initiative is a key deliverable in the recently launched roadmap which was prepared by the TSC with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Institute for Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC).

It is the result of inputs and recommendations made by Srilal Miththapala and James MacGregor, a YouLead international tourism expert.

The Core members of the TSC include Malik J. Fernando, Shiromal Cooray, Angeline Ondaatjie, Jayantissa Kehelpannala, Sanath Ukwatte, Chamin Wickramasinghe, Dileep Mudadeniya, Timothy Wright, Steven Bradie-Miles, and Preshan Dissanayake. Abbas Esufally and Prema Cooray.

Ex-officio members included nominees from the Ceylon Chamber, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), and the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC). 


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