The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), throughout its 62 years of existence, have been performing yeoman services to the Hospitality Industry of Sri Lanka. With the tourism and hospitality industry booming in Sri Lanka at present, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel Management, Mr. Dilip de Silva gave his views on the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management and its involvement for the tourism & hospitality industry. He was appointed as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs in January 2019. Newly appointed Chairman, Mr. Silva served as a Lecturer in Food & Beverage Operations at Ceylon Hotel School (SLITHM) in 1978 and again In 1981 he joined the Brunei Government Tourism Institute as an Instructor under the Ministry of Education and served for 10 years until he migrated to Australia in 1991.
He was former United Nations/ International Labour Organisation (ILO) Senior Expert, Industry Skills Development (2008 to 2016)), based in Bangladesh and covered South Africa, Kenya, India and Sri Lanka. He is an international Tourism & Hospitality consultant with over 48 years’ experience working in four continents (Europe, Indian sub-continent, Australia and Africa) and 12 countries. Prior to returning to Sri Lanka in early 2017, he worked in Timor Leste on a Tourism Training Development project funded by the Australian government.
Mr. Silva has specialised in Technical and Vocational Skills Development and has worked for international organisations including AusAid, Canadian CIDA, European Union (EU), International Labour Organization (ILO) and World Bank. He is also an Expert Trainer of Sustaining Competitive Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) of ILO Geneva working in Bangladesh, Kenya and South Africa and Sri Lanka in the Tourism sector. He is a highly specialised international trainer in Tourism and Hospitality sector who was responsible in introducing ILO’s Tourism Toolkit for Poverty Reduction to Sri Lanka in 2013. Mr. Dilip De Silva is an accredited Industry assessor of City & Guilds of London Institute and has the distinction of winning the Food & Beverage Service first place Gold Medal in City & Guilds of London Institute in 1985.
New chairman of SLITHM is also a hotel pre-opening specialist who has worked with Starwood Hotels (Sheraton, Westin) Intercontinental hotels, Holiday Inn, Marriot hotels, Hilton hotels, Accor hotels (Novotel, Sofitel hotels internationally and locally in Aitken Spence hotels, Jetwing hotels, Hayleys hotels (Amaya brand) Blue Waters hotel Wadduwa Mc’Lerence hotels, John Kheels Hotels (Cinnamon Grand) as well as in The Golden Crown 5 star hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka
He started his hospitality Career in Sri Lanka at the Lihiniya Surf Hotel Bentota(Current Surf Bentota) in1970 under Ceylon Hotels Corporation and departed to United Kingdom in 1974 on a Scholarship from British Hotels & Restaurants Association to follow a course of Training in Hotel Management.
Whilst the conversation Chairman has said that, “we are producing trained and competent personnel for the hotel industry in Sri Lanka and abroad at present. Now Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka are forever increasing. The employment rate of our Graduates is 100%. “
The country is targeting three million visitors in the year 2019. While tourists from European Countries visit more in the traditional “Season” tourists from Asian countries visit Sri Lanka all year around. With the rising mobility of the local population, Domestic tourists have also greatly increased. After a lapse of nearly thirty years, two international chains of hotels have started operations in Colombo.
Numbers of local and international brands have started hotels and resorts all over the country. Even though the infrastructure to accommodate travelers has increased, one vital factor needed for the sustainability of this growth is lagging behind is the skilled human resource factor. By 2020 it is estimated that the skilled workers will be need at least 400,000. This is why the work of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) has become critical.
The SLITHM has been at the forefront of training high caliber professionals to meet not only the national demands of this rapidly expanding industry for the last 49 years, but also to cater for the global requirements. The fact that many of the alumni of SLITHM are employed all over the world is good testament for the sound foundation they receive as they embark on a career on Hospitality. The theme of SLITHM is “Taking Sri Lanka to Global Heights – A journey towards excellence in Sri Lankan Hospitality.” The Management and faculty are working hard to make this a reality
SLITHM traces its roots to the 1960s when the Ceylon Hotel School (CHS) was established. It was housed at the old Colombo Club building (later named Samudra hotel) located on the Galle Face Center Road and was there until 1979.
It provided training for just a handful of students. Four basic courses namely cookery, front office, housekeeping and F&B were the areas of training available.
Today the successor to the CHS, SLITHM is the foremost premiere state of the art training institution established by the Government of Sri Lanka in 1966 by an act of Parliament in collaboration with the technical expertise of the International Labour organization (ILO) to train young men and women in the complex field of Hospitality and Travel Industry which presently comes under the purview of Ministry of Tourism Development, Wild Life & Christian Religious affairs.
Also the SLITHM has now established campuses in far flung corners of the country. Currently, besides the main campus in Colombo it has established satellites in Anuradhapura, Bandarawela, Kandy, Koggala, Kurunegala, Ratnapura & Pasikudah. Brand new campus has opened in Jaffna as the 8th Member on 27th September 2018.
This has enabled youth from the rural areas to gain skills in this high- demand sector. Also, obviously the number of persons being trained has increased exponentially.
According to an ILO report only around 300 students completed courses in the early 1980. However, presently almost 7000 students are trained by the SLITHM annually chairman said.
SLITHM is spreading its wings, both in depth and extent. Today, the courses that they offer are numerous as you could read this.
Diploma in Hotel & Catering Operations
National Diploma in Hospitality Management
National Tourist Guide Training Program
Chauffer Tourist Guide Training Program
Pastry & Bakery Courses
One month Apprenticeship Courses
Certificate & Craft level courses in
1. Professional Cookery
2. Food & Beverages
(Restaurant & Bar Service)
3. Front Office/ Reception
4. Hotel Housekeeping
Also the SLITHM has now established few courses of Adventure Tourism & Event Management. As well as Jointly offered by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA) and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), the CHFMA qualification supports Sri Lankan professionals by pre-empting that process, giving them the skills.
As a result, SLITHM-qualified management hoteliers are well-equipped to handle the challenges they will face in the hospitality sector and also those in attendance of the value of a professional qualification in Tourism Hotel and Hospitality industry.
SLITHM is always supported by the Ceylon Hostels School Graduates Association (CHSGA) who is housed in the SLITHM building.
CHSGA is taking an active role in student’s soft skills development as well as providing opportunities for graduates to pursue management qualifications through Masters Degree program affiliated with international university. SLITHM is also fortunate to build a close partnership with the Chef Guild of Lanka (CGL) to train and certify students who are undertaking culinary studies. SLITHM recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Chefs Guild of Lanka headed by veteran chocolatier Mr. Gerard Mendis.
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By Ganga Walpola