From left : Buddhika Hewawasam (DGM – SriLankan Aviation College) , Primal De Silva (GM – SriLankan Aviation College) , Capt. Suren Ratwatte, Prof. Lakshman Dissanayake (Vice Chancellor – University of Colombo) , S. Paramanadan, Prof. Athula Ranasinghe ( Dean, Faculty of Arts – University of Colombo) , Prof. Ven. W. Wimalarathana (Head/Department of Economics – University of Colombo)

SriLankan Aviation College (SLAC), together with the premier national university, the University of Colombo (UOC) and the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka (TAASL) have recently signed an MoU to launch a brand-new and world-recognized programme aimed at revolutionizing standards in the country’s travel and tourism sector, by preparing young men and women for careers in this industry.

The first step in the partnership will be the launch of a multi-disciplinary Certificate Course in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Management aimed at enhancing the knowledge of existing persons in the travel and tourism sphere, as well as serving those seeking to enter the industry.

Dr. D.A.C. Suranga Silva, the academic coordinator of this programme said that this will be the first ever academic programme in travel, tourism and hospitality industry conducted by Sri Lankan national universities through synergizing the strengths of industry, academia and associations of the nation as an industry-interactive and application-oriented study programme.

Upon completion, students will be awarded an internationally recognised certificate endorsed by all three institutions. Following the launch of the Certificate programme, the three institutes will expand their joint efforts to develop Diploma and Degree programmes in this field in future.

Furthermore, after the successful completion of this certificate course, students can follow the academic path developed by the University of Colombo: Diploma in Travel & Tourism Economics and Hotel Management (DTTEHM); Executive Diploma in Event, Tourism and Hospitality Management (EDTEHM); and Postgraduate Diploma leading to Masters in Tourism Economics and Hotel Management (MTEHM) as well.

Captain Suren Ratwatte, CEO of SriLankan Airlines, said: “This is an exciting development, not only for SriLankan Airlines and our two partners, but for every industry related to the travel and tourism sector. Our three institutions have worked with each other in the past, and this partnership will definitely go a long way towards strengthening the industry.”

According to President of TAASL, S. Paramanathan, although Sri Lanka is seeing significant investment in the tourism sector, the product lags behind competitors due to low standards of service, which is a crucial element in retaining tourists.
“This is the start of a sustained effort to uplift the industry’s standards through a comprehensive system of education,” he added.