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* SLTDA inks MOU with Australian aid funded S4IG focusing on skills development within tourism sector
Tue, Jun 21, 2022, 08:04 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

June 21, Colombo: The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), entered a MoU with the Australian Government-funded skills for inclusive growth program (S4IG) managed by Palladium international group, towards several strategic areas of corporation.

SLTDA is the official Government institution in charge of regularizing the country’s tourism industry as well as establishing, positioning, and developing Sri Lanka as a leading destination for international visitors.

S4IG is a program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in accordance with the terms of a subsidiary agreement signed on 31 March between DFAT and the Sri Lankan State Ministry of skills development, vocational training, research, and innovations.

The parties agreed on the cooperation framework to support key strategic initiatives including revitalizing national tour guides operations, to test destination development initiatives that engage visitors within rural and remote communities, initiatives to improve the performance of tourism MSME businesses through better skills and human resource practices, to raise awareness on the safety and security of staff and visitors, improve evacuation protocols and to disseminate training resources to tourism MSMEs.

By signing the MoU, SLTDA and S4IG will review and revise practice standards, codes of conduct, and support skill training for tour guides and encourage ongoing professional development to improve product quality and services. This includes ensuring training is aligned with industry and Government standards. This professional development initiative shall include selected modules in E-tourism (especially E-operation), content creation, photography and video animation, interpretation skills, health and safety and customer care.

Further, S4IG will support the development of a program for women tour guides with industry partners. This will ensure alignment with agreed standards and include on-the-job training in partnership with national and international tour operators.

The MoU enables the functioning of a Strategic Reference Group (SRG) to support destination development and ensure local communities can access skills to better engage with the visitor economy. The destination initiatives (festivals, events, tourism activities) will be determined through the work of the reference group and enable the identification of necessary skills to deliver these agreed initiatives.

This then enables local communities to access relevant skills directly linked with employment and income generating opportunities. This provides a longer term and sustainable framework for ongoing employability and gives people the tools to receive higher income through local economic development initiatives that can be generated from the tourism sector.

This MoU enables the development of new training modules and materials to enhance tour guiding services. This will include hosting a series of webinars to learn from the experiences from other countries that have successfully generated inclusive growth and local economic development benefits from tourism including Australia, South Africa, and Thailand.

S4IG further aims to collaborate with SLTDA to create promotional strategies to attract individuals among the tourism MSMEs to improve skills in e-marketing, the identification and creation of tour product stories, digital story creation, marketing and promotion, and E-operations in tourism to boost revenues and better engage with diverse visitor needs and interests. The regional staff of SLTDA will participate in this training and be supported to deliver services to smaller business.

The collaboration efforts are expected to result in the creation of a tour product calendars which is to include events, festivals, tours, and seasonal attractions to promote and market regional destinations through tourism promotion authorities and private partners. This will include a strong emphasis towards engaging smaller business to benefits from the visitor economy and strengthen the quality of tourism products and services available to visitors.

Innovative initiatives including collaborations with private entrepreneurs on a gamification and virtual tourism prototype in North central province and the Eastern province also forms part and parcel of this collaboration framework.

In an effort to improve the performance of tourism MSME businesses through better human resource practices, The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management will collaborate with SLTDA and S4IG to create a score card and related procedures to test the use of HR modules and the HR toolkit by tourism MSMEs in the country which is to include an industry-validated HR toolkit.

Businesses registered with SLTDA can access tools and training materials that support multiskilling, improved workforce productivity, workforce development, safety and wellbeing to improve the performance of the business to generate more revenue from the visitor economy.

This collaboration will also roll out formal safety and security training, introduce evacuation awareness measures and protocols and ensure access to international standard learning materials and training for tourism MSMEs.

The tourism MSMEs will now benefit from an industry validated and Disaster Management Centre (DMC) approved learning and awareness videos that are correlated with self-paced learning safety and security workbooks. Regional SLTDA officers will be able to support and train the owners and managers of MSMEs, as well as registered drivers, on how to ensure the safety and security of visitors and be able to use the tools to mitigate risks.


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