Hiran Cooray, Chairman – Jetwing made history this week being the first Sri Lankan to be inducted as Chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
Picture shows Hiran Cooray, the newly elected Chairman of PATA being congratulated by his predecessor Phornsiri Manoharn of Thailand at the 59th Annual Meeting. Others in the picture include (l-r) Anthony Wong - Treasurer, Janice Antonson – the first woman PATA Chairman and Greg Duffell – PATA Chief Executive Officer
Mr Cooray will also be the first Chairman who will serve a two year term, Jetwing said in a statement, adding that at 46 years, he also becomes the youngest to hold this prestigious position.
The Jetwing chief joined the officialdom of PATA first in 1996 when he was elected to the Industry Council followed by a presence in the Executive Board in 1998 with positions of Secretary/Treasurer and Vice-Chairman, prior to Chairmanship. Previously he served as PATA Sri Lankan Chapter Chairman as well.
Mr Cooray says the leadership role in PATA reflected the fact that Sri Lanka could be a force to reckon with in the global tourism arena. “On behalf of Sri Lanka, I am proud, privileged and honoured by the responsibility cast on me,” he said.
Addressing PATA’s 59th Annual Meeting held in Kuching, Sarawak in Malaysia, Mr Cooray who succeeded Phornsiri Manoharn of the Thailand Tourism Organisation, said after the protracted conflict, the benefits of the peace dividend are being enjoyed by Sri Lanka. “I would like to see greater peace within the region so that tourism can boost socio-economic growth in our economies. Whilst peace is the key driver to boost tourism, I believe that tourism can be a great catalyst to achieve peace and prosperity as well,” he added.