German tourism giant eyes expansion in SL

One of the world’s leading tour operators, TUI Group, has expressed its willingness to expand operations in Sri Lanka and assist in developing hospitality training facilities, the Tourism Ministry said yesterday in a statement.

TUI is one of the largest outbound tour operators in Europe and had revealed these plans during a discussion between Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga and top board members of the group, who included CEO David Burling and Managing Director Garry Wilson, in Germany last week.

Having explained the Government’s economic vision, Minister Amaratunga emphasised that tourism was expected to play a major role in Sri Lanka’s economy and requested TUI to focus on promoting Sri Lanka as a high-end tourist destination. The Minister also requested TUI to consider the North and East when expanding their operations in the country in order to provide more economic opportunities for youth in the region.

TUI Group Managing Director Wilson, elaborating on the proposed expansion, said that TUI was contemplating using Sri Lanka as a hub in the Indian Ocean region in order to service other regional destinations. The Minister, while promising that the Government would give such a proposal its fullest support, also requested assistance to upgrade hospitality training in Sri Lanka.

In response, TUI agreed to collaborate with the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (formerly Ceylon Hotel School) by providing financial assistance as well as trained German professionals to develop both curricula and training facilities.

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana, who also took part in the discussion, noted that the German Government was instrumental in initiating training programs for Sri Lankan youth in the hospitality industry as early as the 1960s. He recalled that many of those who benefited from such training programs have gone on to become top managers at leading hotels both in Sri Lanka and abroad.

TUI Group CEO Davind Burling said that they hoped to announce the group’s plans for the next three years in November this year. Under the proposed training program, trainees will receive internationally recognised certificates and language training, making them globally employable.

As the first step, identified satellite schools of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management will be developed with TUI’s assistance.

Source :

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