Phuket, Thailand, December 15, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Bjorn Courage was named as the association’s President and Sumi Soorian promoted to the role of Executive Director, while long-term leader Anthony Lark will continue to serve as a Senior Advisor. The Phuket Hotels Association, a non-profit organisation with 72 member properties, has embarked on an exciting new era with the appointment of a new senior leadership team.
Bjorn Courage, General Manager of the InterContinental Phuket Resort, who has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, has been named as the Association’s new President of the Phuket Hotels Association, succeeding founding President, Anthony Lark, ex General Manager of Amanpuri, Trisara, and now Executive Director at HMD, Shinta Mani and Bensley Collection hotels.
Sumi Soorian, who has been with the Phuket Hotels Association since its foundation in 2016 and most recently served as Development Director, has also been promoted to Executive Director. A marketing and communications professional who specialises in project management and business development, Sumi graduated in the USA and has worked in multiple countries, including Australia, China and Thailand.
Bjorn moves into the role of President at a time of optimism for Phuket’s tourism and hospitality industry. The island was one of the first Southeast Asian destinations to safely reopen to international visitors when it launched the innovative “Phuket Sandbox” programme in July 2021, and its hotels and resorts are now gearing up for a strong recovery in the winter high season and beyond.
There can be few more qualified people to lead this proactive organisation than Bjorn. During the course of a 25-year career, he has worked with many of the industry’s most iconic brands, including IHG, Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Six Senses, and Mandarin Oriental. He also successfully completed Cornell University’s Executive Leadership programme.
“During these initial times of recovery from the Covid pandemic, I am proud to serve our member hotels, communities and destination to the best of my ability. I will strive to continue and further evolve the important work done by the association, working groups and member hotels to-date, especially in regard to our association’s three key pillars: Marketing, Environment and Education. Thank you to Anthony for his leadership since the inauguration of the Phuket Hotel Association and for continuing to serve the Association as Senior Advisor,” Bjorn commented.
Since it was founded in January 2016, the Phuket Hotels Association has grown to represent 72 of the island’s top internationally-branded and independent luxury and midscale hotels and resorts, comprising just over 12,000 rooms. 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.
Anthony Lark will continue to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Association, alongside Bill Barnett, a founder of the Phuket Hotels Association and Managing Director of C9 Hotelworks, David Keen, CEO of QUO, David Johnson, CEO of Delivering Asia Communications, Boon Yongsakul, Chairman of Boat Pattana, and Saharat Jivavisitnont, Executive Director at Jee Teng Hospitality Group.