Phuket Hotel Association New Leadership Team

With Bjorn Courage, reappointed as President, the association will continue its work built around four strategic pillars – Marketing, Environment, Government and Education – and Education has emerged as a critical issue in the post-pandemic era.

Phuket Hotels Association, a non-profit organisation representing 80 of the island’s top hotels and resorts, has reaffirmed its deep commitment to the future of Phuket’s hospitality sector by announcing the reappointment of its senior leadership team, including President Bjorn Courage who has been instrumental in the association’s success.

Following a recent election, Courage, who also serves as General Manager of the  InterContinental   Phuket   Resort,   was   given   an   overwhelming   vote   of confidence to continue in the role of President, while  Brett Wilson,  General Manager of the Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach, was named as Treasurer and Daniel Meury  , General Manager of the  Andara Resort & Hotels,  was re-elected as Secretary.

This positive move comes at a vital time for Phuket’s hospitality   industry,   which   is   enjoying   a   strong   rebound   from   the   global pandemic. The continuity of having Phuket Hotels Association’s executive team remain in place for another term will enable key projects and policies to be implemented effectively.

The   association’s   work   is   built   around   four   strategic   pillars   –   Marketing, Environment, Government and Education – and Education has emerged as a critical issue in the post-pandemic era. This is due to the shortage of talent that is currently impacting the hotel sector in Phuket, and the entire region. If left unchecked, this situation could significantly hinder the speed and sustainability of the recovery.

Bjorn Courage, newly-reappointed President of the Phuket Hotels Association, comments: “As tourism and hospitality in Phuket continue to recover, we will make every effort to maintain and build on the important work which helps put people first and provides first-class hospitality-based education opportunities.

The aim is to create a strategic pipeline of skilled personnel for current and future employment in this industry.”

One way the association is striving to ease the talent crunch is by promoting investment in the education and training of local people in Phuket. It recently secured   scholarships   for   48   young   adults   at   vocational   institutions   and universities   across   Phuket   and   Bangkok,   including   alliances   with   Cornell University’s General Managers programme and Dusit Thani College, Bangkok, which specialises in hospitality management and the culinary arts. From the Asia Pacific   campus   of   Ecole   Hôtelière   de   Lausanne   (EHL)   in   Singapore,   the association has also been able to provide world-class, university-level online training.

As well as enabling future employment, Phuket Hotels Association is empowering existing employees to enhance their opportunities for career progression through progressive learning. This will help to transform the staff of its hotel members into multi-skilled team members. As a key member of the Phuket Hotels Association’s leadership team since its establishment in 2016, Executive Director  Sumi Soorian  fully understand the importance   of   nurturing   and   developing   young   people   in   Thailand.   Sumi comments:

“We need to invest in the future and this starts with the next generation   of   hospitality   talent.   We   are   continuously   looking   at   ways   to strengthen the industry and find sustainable avenues to get people returning to our sector.”

Phuket is leading Thailand’s tourism recovery; the island welcomed 2.3 million international visitors in the first ten months of 2022, more than double the number achieved by any other Thai province. This was, in part, due to the island’s innovative “Phuket Sandbox” initiative that expedited the return of overseas tourists.

Visitor arrivals are set to accelerate rapidly in 2023, so it is essential that Phuket’s hoteliers have a strong and clear strategy to manage the influx. The Phuket Hotels Association’s stable leadership will prove a key factor in the sector’s future success.

Since it was founded in January 2016, the Phuket Hotels Association has grown to represent 80 of the island’s top internationally-branded and independent luxury and midscale hotels and resorts, comprising just over 12,000 rooms and 25,000 employees.

Each of these members has made a commitment to the destination and,   through   the   Phuket   Hotels   Association,   are   actively   investing   in   a sustainable future through long-term environmental and educational initiatives.

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