The University of Colombo, has been the premier national higher educational institution in Sri Lanka. It has 7 Faculties with 43 Academic Departments, a Campus, a School, 7 Institutes and several Centres and Units. Many undergraduate and postgraduate study courses in the fields of Arts, Science, Medicine, Management, Finance, Law, Education, IT, Aesthetic Studies. Molecular Biology etc. are conducted by the University. Department of Economics currently offers a range of academic programmes in Tourism Economics and Hotel Management since 2009. These programmes includes from Certificate level to Masters in Tourism and Hotel Management, which are being offered to industry practitioners who wish to further enhance their academic qualifications which sustain their professional capacities.
In the past three years, the Department of Economics, University of Colombo has also been the beacon for the celebrations of the United Nations World Tourism Day in Sri Lanka. Every year the related activities have been gaining momentum very successfully by strengthening Public-Private Partnerships that enhance the Tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
What began as a private event for and by the students following a variety of Tourism Study programmes has now reached to the recognition of national and international levels. This year we hope to extend it even further as an International event with the participation of eminent tourism practitioners and international prominent academics.
Accordingly, we hope to conduct Industry Driven Conclaves to encourage research and development of products and services.
The past six decades has created an environment for tourism to ride a high wave, with increased diversification becoming one of the fastest developing economic sectors in the world. Such dynamism has prompted both developed and developing nations to actively engage in tourism mainly focusing on socio- economic progress.
Today, tourism is one of the major sectors in international trade and one of the main wealth creators for developing countries. Tourism means jobs, poverty eradication, gender equality, sustainable production and consumption patterns and the protection and promotion of our natural and cultural heritage.
The recognition of the importance of tourism in national development strategies and in the global development agenda is also fast becoming a reality. With a potential to syndicate the three dimensions of sustainable development whilst maintaining close linkages to other sectors tourism has now secured its identity.
This is a dynamic time for the tourism sector, and there are strong prospects for its future and all of us have our own role to play in ensuring tourism works as a force for development. As the premier state-run academic body, the Tourism Programmes Division of the Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo has been taking the lead in the past three years in organizing celebrations of United Nations World Tourism Day at national level.
Accordingly, this year too, the students of masters, postgraduate and diploma in tourism economics and hotel management programmes propose to conduct a series of events that would stimulate the integrated implementation of tourism to strengthen the presence of public and private sectors with focus on benefits to local communities.