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Academic Soulinnara Ratanavong wins 2014 PATA Face of the Future

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has announced that Ms Soulinnara Ratanavong is the recipient of the most prestigious honour for young tourism professionals in Asia Pacific – the 2014 PATA Face of the Future award. Ms Ratanavong is a Teacher/Trainer at the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Lanith), Lao PDR.

In addition, PATA honoured Mr Ratchadet Suksin with a PATA special award recognising his service to the community. Mr Suksin is the Corporate Director of Training, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand.

Mr Martin J Craigs, PATA CEO stated, “This year the PATA Face of the Future programme attracted a great number of strong candidates, and every individual demonstrated their dedication and achievements in the development of the travel and tourism industry. The decision was difficult, but at the end we felt that these two individuals deserved recognition for their accomplishments to the sustainable development of the Asia Pacific travel industry in line with PATA’s mission.”

Ms Ratanavong said, “I am very grateful to receive this prestigious award; I would like to thank the Lanith Team and PATA for trusting me as the 2014 PATA Face of the Future. I do hope to explore new experiences and be able to share those experiences with future generations. I'll be proud to contribute to service quality through human resource development, and I will do my best to create awareness on the importance of the tourism industry, and also to promote the Visitor Economy as an essential part of a country's development. I also wish to be in touch with a great number of networks via both direct and indirect ways, because that will make Laos be more effectively recognised in this field.”

At Lanith, Ms Ratanavong has a distinguished background in hospitality management. She is one of the most active and enthusiastic teachers at Lanith, well-liked and respected by her students and peers. Prior to this, she worked for Agoda and Villa Group. A national of Lao PDR, she earned a Master of Science in Hospitality Management from Academy International Management, Paris, France. She can speak English, French, Thai and Laotian.

The PATA Special Award recipient, Mr Ratchadet Suksin was instrumental in initiating the successful programme of "4 Cs: Centara Career Creation for Children" campaign of Centara Hotels and Resorts. The programme has provided career development opportunities to underprivileged and disabled students through a five-month training programme intended to enhance their knowledge and skills in hospitality services. The students are given a full-time job opportunity after the completion of the programme. The initiative aims to expand the workforce base, targeting Thai juveniles who have the potential to become new workers within the hospitality industry.  

Mr Ratchadet Suksin said, “What I have remained so proud of working in hospitality and tourism is that I have an opportunity to continue developing people in this industry and see them grow in their career, particularly those who are the underprivileged members of the society. It is always an ecstatic moment to see them happy with their better life and better quality of their family back in their hometown. In the future, together with the continuous support from my team, I will keep on developing and creating more quality workforce for the growth of the hospitality industry.”

“Apart from the schools with which I've been in touch, I am sure that there are much more schools of the underprivileged juvenile who have had a lack of opportunity. I will try to access those schools and bring them to join this education and development programme. My job is not only to train them and educate them but I also try to give them the inspiration to work and become successful in the hospitality industry. The greatest pride that I have in my career as Corporate Director of Training is the moment that I see people developed and inspired. Last but not least, I would like to convey my true appreciation to PATA for valuing my developmental role in this industry,” added Mr. Suksin.

Prior to join Centara Hotels and Resorts, Mr Suksin was Deputy Dean in Academic Affairs, Dhurakij Pundit University, Thailand. He received a Master of Arts in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages, University of New South Wales, Australia and a diploma in Hospitality Management from William Blue International Hotel Management School, Australia. A national of Thailand, he can speak English, Japanese and Mandarin.

Ms Ratanavong and Mr Suksin are set to receive the honour at the Association’s next Dinner and PATA Awards Presentation during the PATA Board Meeting and 2014 AGM on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at Chimelong Hengqin Bay Hotel, Zhuhai, China.

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