IWTA speaks with Sumi Soorian – Phuket Hotels Association
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We are delighted to introduce you to Sumi Soorian– Executive Director at Phuket Hotels Association
Sumi is a great example of how careers can grow and develop over time. She has a business management background and has worked in education before joining the Phuket Hotels Association about 5 years ago.
A Malaysian by nationality, educated in the USA, worked in China, spent a couple of years in France, now living in Phuket since 2012, Sumi is Executive Director of the Phuket Hotels Association, Business Development Director at Delivering Asia, and co-owner of a restaurant in Phuket.
Venturing into Travel
Initially struggling to find a job in Phuket, Sumi threw herself into helping her children’s school in various fund-raising projects. Her activities caught the attention of principals of the local Hotel Association and she was invited to work with them on fund raising activities. That began a 5-year journey of activities based around the Phuket Hotel Association Core Pillars of Education, Environment, Sustainability and Destination Marketing.
Over the 5 years of Sumi’s involvement, the association has supported 35 local Thai students with financial difficulties in continuing their education, with 5 of those having completed their education and currently benefitting from internship opportunities in the hospitality industry on the island.
COVID brought fund raising activities to a standstill, but as the pandemic subsides 2022 will once again see more events and activities designed to raise funds to continue supporting Thai students in need, as well as projects based around the environment and sustainability.
Sumi would like to do even more for the local community she calls home, with the introduction of hospitality educational programmes on a more formalised level becoming available for local students on the island of Phuket.
Advice to her Younger Self
Try everything and be open to changes and opportunities. Seek out mentors within the industry you want to excel in & learn whatever you can.
Advice to Young Generation
Have an open mind, and always challenge yourself. Don’t fall into a comfort zone – your next career move needs to be challenging for you to grow. It’s never too late to do something new, there are always opportunities if you are a positive thinker.
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