The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) honoured Prasanna W. Jayewardene with the ‘Pioneer in Tourism’ award at the recently-concluded Tourism Awards 2011.
Hotelier Jayewardene has 45 years of experience in the tourism industry both locally and internationally and was recognised for his services as a pioneer in the field.
Having received his education at Trinity College, Kandy and the very prestigious Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management at Klesshiem Castle, Salzburg, Austria, Jayewardene went on to be trained by Movenpick of Switzerland, Hotel George V in Paris and Trust House Fortes International in the United Kingdom among other places.
Starting in Sri Lanka with the opening of its first five-star hotel, The Pegasus Reef Hotel, he conceptualised, developed and managed Elephant Corridor Hotel in Sigiriya on land owned by him considered six-star plus by its guests who paid up to US$ 1,000 a night there.
He now is developing the seven-star ‘Isle of Agnes’ in Weligama, belonging to his company, PJ Group, to sell at US$ 5,000 to 10,000.
He has been on over 20 hotel boards as a Director and has at different stages provided consultancy to the largest hotel group in the Maldives Islands and Director and General Manager of the two largest hotel and tourism groups at the time in Sri Lanka, The Ceylon Hotels Corporation and C.O.S.P.R.O.H. in the Seychelles.
He has been Chairman of three regional hotel associations in Sri Lanka as well as Vice President of the National Hotels Association and on a number of committees and task forces both in Sri Lanka and Seychelles, including the Seychelles Tourism Authority.
Hotel work experience in 10 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe has made him proficient in five languages. He has found time for his interest in flora and fauna and has among a host of other fauna kept leopard, deer, sambur, crocodiles, porcupine, python and peafowl.
He has been a fellow of the Zoological Society of London and a Director of the National Livestock Board of Sri Lanka.
His interest in collecting classic and vintage cars has allowed him to now own a trophy stretch Daimler limousine used by the Queen of England , Austin Princess stretch limousine imported for a Prime Minster of Ceylon and a Jaguar owned by a Malaysian Sultan.
Four novels – ‘A Journey Forward,’ ‘No Second Chance,’ ‘The King Who Keeps His Crown’ and ‘Return to Heritage’ – have been authored by him. He is married to Swedish national Carin and has two children, Adrian and Danielle.
Presently through the PJ Group and its fully-owned subsidiaries, Jayewardene as Executive Chairman is actively involved in land purchasing and organic farming predominantly in the north and east of Sri Lanka.
The integrated tourism potential of the next generation on some of these lands is to be exploited over the next decade. Three golf courses with hotels, housing and integrated development are also planned. He is supported by dedicated staff at the centre in Colombo and in the field.