SLITHM mulls hotel school in Jaffna

The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) has expressed interest in establishing a hotel school around the newly opened Jaffna International Airport to train more students in the hospitality sector in Jaffna.

According to a press release from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), initial discussions have been held in this regard during a visit by SLITHM officials to Jaffna along with other high-level tourism officials.

SLITHM is the only state-owned institute which provides training to feed talent into the tourism and hotel industries. Furthermore, SLTDA said that it would launch an extensive awareness campaign on the attractions of the northern area for the locals in order to boost domestic tourism.

The officials and stakeholders of the tourism industry visited the newly opened Jaffna International Airport to explore future tourism opportunities. The Jaffna International Airport was declared open on 17 October 2019.

The Minister of Tourism Development, representatives of the State Ministry, veterans from the tourism industry, and officials from SLTDA, SLITHM, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB), and stakeholders, namely Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), The Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), Colombo City Hotels Association (CCHA), National Association for Professionals in Tourism (NAPT), Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism (ASMET), and Tourist Drivers Associations (NTDA) participated in this visit.

“The opening of the Jaffna International Airport is no doubt a watershed event in the resurgence of the Northern Province as an economic hub of the region. Visitors to the North no longer need to spend seven to eight hours on the road to get there from the Katunayake airport as they can now directly fly into Jaffna. The immediate and direct beneficiary of this development will be the tourism industry,” said Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife, and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga during the visit.

“The opening of the Jaffna International Airport not only eases accessibility for domestic and international visitors to the northern part but also opens up new opportunities for investors in the Jaffna Peninsula. At a time where the Tourism Development Authority is focusing on developing the infrastructure for tourism in this area, we would like to extend a cordial invitation to interested investors to invest in the region,” SLTDA Director General Upali Ratnayake stated.

“SLAITO is pleased to note the establishment of the new Jaffna international Airport. This will pave the way for Indian tourist traffic to the northern district of Sri Lanka where we have many interesting places to visit including the religious sites. We look forward to promoting this airport,” SLAITO President Mahen Kariyawasam said.

Flight operations of the Jaffna International Airport are due to commence from November 2019.