Veteran hotelier Prema Cooray was inducted to the Hall of Fame of the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association (PATWA) last week on the sidelines of the ITB 2012 in Berlin.
The induction of Cooray was done during the annual international awards ceremony of PATWA held at the ITB, the world’s biggest travel fair and is attended by over 7,000 journalists from all over the world and tourism exhibitors from 180 countries.
Cooray, a former Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence and CEO of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, was recognised for his contribution to the promotion of Sri Lanka tourism. Cooray is currently Chairman of Citrus Leisure Plc.
Cooray was selected by USAID to lead the Tourism Cluster from 2001 to 2008 which introduced the concept of ‘going beyond beaches’. The diversity in the profile of Sri Lanka’s tourism today is mainly attributed to the efforts made by this Cluster.
He is a Past President of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (1998-2000) and was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (2007-2009). Presently he chairs a Rainforest initiative partnered by the private sector which once completed (early 2011) will bench-mark the best practices for eco tourism development in Sri Lanka. He serves as a Member of the Tourism Cluster of National Council for Economic Development (NCED) and also serves as a Member of the Grants Board of ICTA. He is also a Board Member of Waters Edge and Lighthouse Hotel PLC.
Cooray has an MBA from the University of Sri Jayawardenepura, is a Certified Management Accountant and he is also a Member of the Institute of Hospitality, UK.
The PATWA Award is given to recognize individuals, organizations involved in the promotion of tourism from different sector of tourism such as aviation, hotel, travel agents, tour operators and govt. agencies.
PATWA is the leading travel writers’ organisation representing members from all over the world. The aim of PATWA is to promote professional development of Travel Writing and Travel Communication, which will make invaluable contribution in the promotion of tourism.
PATWA supports the fundamental objectives and efforts for tourism and at the same time it will maintain adherence to the fundamental principles of the UNESCO, United Nations and of the World Tourism Organization.