Led by Bjorn Courage, who has been reappointed as President, the association will focus on education and training in an effort to tackle the talent crunch and accelerate the rebound of international travel.
PHUKET, THAILAND – The 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, Mr. 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.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.