PHUKET, THAILAND: The Phuket Hotels Association, a non-profit organisation representing 88 of the island’s top hotels and resorts, is delighted to announce the latest recipient of its scholarship for talented Thai hospitality executives, as part of its long-term strategy to elevate hotel leadership in Phuket.

Under a collaboration between Phuket Hotels Association and Cornell University, one highly promising team member from a hotel or resort in Phuket is offered a scholarship to Cornell’s annual General Managers Program (GMP). This year’s scholarship has been generously donated and fully funded by Mr. William Heinecke, Founder & Chairman of Minor International PCL.

The latest GMP Cornell Scholarship was awarded to Ms. Pathama Kanteetaw, Executive Assistant Manager at Paresa Resort. Khun Kaew, as she is better known, worked for Marriott and Hilton before joining Paresa in 2016. She has impressed with her passion, business acumen, leadership skills and ability to create outstanding guest experiences.

Now, Khun Kaew will travel to Cornell University, the prestigious Ivy League institution in New York state, USA, where she will undertake the five-day GMP from 18-23 June 2023. This immersive program is designed to help senior hospitality professionals, including heads of department, take the next step in their careers and become general managers. Phuket Hotels Association will cover the cost of Khun Kaew’s flights, accommodation and visas.

Bjorn Courage, President of the Phuket Hotels Association, said: “We are delighted that Khun Kaew has been selected for our GMP scholarship program. Over the course of her career, Khun Kaew has proven that she is a very talented hospitality leader with a bright future, so it is a great pleasure to help her take this important step. I would also like to thank Bill Heinecke for his generous sponsorship of our GMP. Phuket Hotels Association is fully committed to investing in Thai professionals, for the long-term benefit of Phuket’s hotel sector and the entire country. We look forward to seeing Khun Kaew develop into an exceptional general manager in future.”

Since it was launched 37 years ago, Cornell University’s GMP has hosted more than 1,900 participants representing 120+ countries and territories worldwide. Khun Kaew is the third person to have been awarded Phuket Hotels Association’s GMP scholarship. In 2018, Ms. Isara Pangchan, Executive Assistant Manager at Trisara completed the GMP, which was donated by Allan Zeman, owner of Andara Resort & Villas. Then in 2019, Ms. Sayamon Sittirit, Cluster Resort Manager at Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas and Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas was the successful candidate, after the scholarship was donated by Ian Lien, Managing Director at SC Capital Partners.

The scholarship program will continue this year, with the 2023 GMP set to be donated by Gordon Oldham, owner of The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts.

These scholarships form part of Phuket Hotels Association’s focus on education, one of its four strategic pillars. Talent retention and development have emerged as critical issues in the post-pandemic era – not only in Phuket but all across Thailand and around the world. These valuable scholarships are empowering Thai executives to take the next stage in their professional careers.

For more information about the Phuket Hotels Association, please visit