Speaking at the launch of the Professional Courses in Hospitality at Water's Edge, Battaramulla by the Imperial Institute of Hospitality, he said that since the end of the war in 2009, Sri Lanka recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals last year.
"Certainly it has taken a long time for Sri Lanka to get its act together and the future was bright for the industry," he said.
Sri Lanka has been described as Thaprobain, Serandib and so many names and to date Sri Lanka has a good product to market.
"However, Sri Lanka has not been able to market products in the international market in a major way," he said.
"As you know, we need valorization in this industry. Therefore, as leaders of the industry, I urge you to join hands and promote our country. We certainly have master plans and I know that the tourist board and tourist authority was trying very hard to achieve this. There are certainly many draw backs, challenges and inputs, that the government has put into terms of development," he said.
"When these plans fall into place, the target set by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to attract 2.5 million tourist' by 2016, would be a reality," he said.
"It is a goal that can be realized. But the support services also have to go hand in hand. Therefore we need human personnel, people development and certainly I know from my limited experience as a politician, that Sri Lanka has abundant talent.
Hence, education of this nature for capacity development for people in the tourist section was very important," he said. "Most of our young graduates work for about 5 or 10 years in Sri Lanka and they go overseas. We must be able to retain the talents that we have, to so we certainly we must pay competitive salaries," he said.
Weather it be a tourist trade, a financial trade, a government sector or a manufacturing sector, you have to have proper people to motivate and inspire.
It is also essentially, I think that as a young politician, the core of human development was motivation and inspiration.'
If you can motivate and inspire people, you can achieve great goals," he said.
"This endeavor is being fulfilled by opening of the Institute of Hospitality and Leisure which is a need in the market today.
Sri Lanka needs more institutes like this," he said.