Women in Tourism Industry – Sri Lanka

D.A.C. Suranga Silva, B.A.K.M. Mendis


Tourism industry is one of the areas that has the potential to develop and grow in the next few years in Sri Lanka. According to the Tourism Development Strategy of Sri Lanka, tourism industry is expected to be the third largest foreign exchange earner by 2016. The country needs further 500,000 well trained employees by 2016 to meet the expected target. However there are doubts this potential for growth may retard by a deficit of qualified, experienced efficient employees. It is observed that female participation in the industry is very low. Furthermore, at the middle and senior management level the representation is negligible.


A survey was conducted to find the reasons for the low participation of females in the sector. The survey participants consisted of both sector representatives and other professionals.

The fact findings reveal that the main barrier for females entering and excelling in the tourism sector is the view of the general public. The perception of the general public is that unwanted attention or pressure of sexual nature is common in the tourism industry. Therefore it is not safe for females to be employed in the tourism sector.


Key Words: Tourism Industry, Female Participation, Career Advancement, Cultural and Non – Cultural Factors

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