Hiran Cooray—Chairman of Jetwing Symphony PLC was recently awarded life membership of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). The award is the association’s highest individual honour and recognises significant leadership and invaluable dedication to PATA.
Now officially the youngest life member of PATA, Hiran is a passionate advocate for sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka. Together with sister Shiromal, Hiran has guided the Jetwing Hotels group to become one of the best hotel and tour operators in Sri Lanka. In doing so, the siblings have kept their late father’s dream alive, allowing millions of visitors to experience the true warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality.
Their father, the late Herbert Cooray was a pioneer of tourism in Sri Lanka, and began Jetwing when tourism was not even thought of as a viable business in Sri Lanka. Upon completing his education at Cornell, Hiran eventually went on to take over the reins from his father and together with his sister, built a world-class hospitality business with famiy values and a tight-knit culture at heart.
“I am incredibly humbled to receive this award from PATA, an association I have had a great relationship with over the years. I have benefited immensely from being associated with PATA since 1991; the association gave me opportunities to mingle with the great travel, hospitality, airline and government giants, to promote my country and company, and also educated me in the latest trends over the years. I am grateful to late Mr. M. Y. M. Thahir, former Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism, for encouraging me to actively engage with PATA and its activities in the last 3 decades” said Hiran Cooray.
Nearly five decades on since it was founded, Jetwing remains a family owned-and-operated entity. At present, the company is broadly divided into two—Jetwing Hotels and Jetwing Travels. The hotel arm operates over 35 resorts and villas across the island, and is perhaps Sri Lanka’s answer to the Mariotts and Hiltons of the world. Jetwing Symphony PLC is the investment arm of Jetwing Hotels and as a publicly traded company enables prospective investors to take part in the growth story of Sri Lankan hospitality.
In 1Q 2020, Jetwing Symphony PLC reported negative earnings of 14 cents a share on a net loss of Rs.70.7 million, compared to negative earnings of 17 cents a share on a net loss of Rs.85.9 million during the first quarter of last year. Like many other firms in the sector, Jetwing too has been severely impacted by a global standstill in travel due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The industry as a whole is banking on demand from domestic tourists to sustain revenues in the short term, as the country gears up to welcome foreign visitors as soon as global travel resumes.