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Hilton Launches Female Development Program in Sri Lanka

Seven‑month pilot project, Hilton Liya Diriya, aims to empower local women through hospitality skills training and development

SRI LANKA - Hilton (NYSE: HLT) today announced its partnership with the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) to launch Hilton Liya Diriya­ – a specially curated female development program in Sri Lanka.

Translating to ‘female courage,’ Hilton Liya Diriya aims to provide training opportunities for local female students keen to build a career in hospitality. Selected participants will undergo two training phases to pick up practical knowledge, skills and experiences, involving a one-month period dedicated to theoretical training with SLITHM and a six-month industrial traineeship at one of Hilton’s properties in Sri Lanka. 

The establishment of the program is in line with Hilton’s Travel with Purpose 2030 goal of doubling its social impact investment, and underscores its continued commitment to ensuring inclusive growth, sustainable solutions and economic opportunities for all, even during these unprecedented times. Furthermore, by empowering its female participants and enabling them to pursue a career in hospitality, Hilton Liya Diriya also aims to create a positive impact on the community by increasing the historically lower1 labor force participation rate for women in Sri Lanka.

On top of the training, participants will receive support from Hilton throughout the duration of the program, in the form of accommodation, allowance and mentoring. Upon graduation, they will also be awarded certifications, as well as employment opportunities at a Hilton property in Sri Lanka or abroad.

“Sri Lanka has shown immense potential for us over the years, evidenced by the resilience of the country, its promising tourism sector and ongoing improvements to infrastructure which have laid a strong foundation for us to kickstart our robust expansion plans,” said Paul Hutton, vice president, operations, Hilton in South East Asia. “Despite the challenges caused by the health pandemic, we continue to recognize its long-term prospects and have doubled down on our commitment to putting Sri Lanka on the global roadmap with the recent opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort in November – our third Hilton property in the country.”

Commenting on the opportunity to further extend the Hilton Effect in Sri Lanka, Hutton added: “In line with our growing presence in the country, we also want to continue honoring our founder, Conrad Hilton, and his ambition to be the most hospitable company in the world, by doing our part for the communities we operate in. Through the introduction of Hilton Liya Diriya, we hope to leverage our scale and capacity to advance women’s economic empowerment in the country by identifying and developing the best local talents, and I look forward to seeing them excel in their careers with us.”

Kimarli Fernando, chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, said: "We aspire to achieve a higher level of female participation in Sri Lanka's hospitality industry, especially in the skilled and value creation areas, which would provide more opportunities for them to further their careers in the longer term. Currently, women make up less than 10 percent of the hospitality workforce locally, compared to 54 percent globally. This is a strategic change Sri Lanka Tourism is striving for and we are delighted to partner with Hilton on the Hilton Liya Diriya program, which is a major step forward to champion the strategic change in our workforce."

1 2019, The World Bank, Labor force participation rate, female – Sri Lanka

About Hilton

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising nearly 6,900 properties and nearly 1.1 million rooms, in 122 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for five consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the nearly 133 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook,  Twitter,  LinkedIn,  Instagram and YouTube.