Monday, 30 December 2013 01:07
Prema Cooray leaves the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday after 10 years of service.
Prema joined the Ceylon Chamber in 2003 as the Secretary-General and remained in that position till 2008. Thereafter he was appointed as the Managing Director of CCC Solutions Ltd., which was formed to manage all project activities of the Chamber.
Before joining the Chamber, Prema was with Aitken Spence where he led the hotel sector before being appointed Chairman in 2002.
A veteran and pioneer in travel and tourism, he is acknowledged for the pivotal role in development of Kandalama Hotel and in the first-ever development of a resort in the Republic of Maldives – an investment that continues to drive Aitken Spence profits for well over a decade.
In early 2000, Prema was invited to Chair the Tourism Cluster in a national initiative supported by USAID to drive a strategy themed ‘Going beyond Beaches’. As a result, Sri Lanka was able to position itself as a product rich in biodiversity and thereby its profile was enriched to market the niche segments.
The Cluster launched a major promotional drive worth US$ 3 million, titled ‘Small Island, Big Trip,’ to stimulate the vast potential of the Indian market and followed with a series of visits to all states of India to promote the MICE segment under Prema’s stewardship as Chairman of Sri Lanka Convention Bureau 2007-9.
These efforts paved the way for India to occupy the top spot in tourist arrivals, which it continues to enjoy to date. In recognition of these efforts, Prema was honoured as a ‘Legend’ by Sri Lanka Tourism in 2011. Currently he chairs an industry initiative in eco tourism, ‘The Rainforest’ in Sinharaja, Deniyaya, which is the first LEED Platinum hotel in Sri Lanka.
When asked about his future plans, Prema said he would continue his assignments in tourism and pursue his passion in promoting the concept of sustainable growth.