2020 – present:
- President, Thai Hotels Association (THA)
- Vice President – Accommodation Sector, Tourism Council of Thailand
- Board Member, Board of Trade of Thailand
- Member of Drafting Committee –The National Economic and Social Development Plan (Tourism and Sustainability 2023-2027)
2014 – 2020:
- THA’s Chairman of Environmental Committee
2007 – present:
- Executive Vice President, Sukosol Hotels which consist of The Siam (Bangkok), The Sukosol Bangkok, Siam Bayshore Pattaya, The Bayview Pattaya and Wave Hotel Pattaya.
1996 – 2006:
- Director of Strategic Planning, Siam Hotels & Resorts
1989 – 1995:
- Marketing Manager, Siam Hotels & Resorts
- Bachelor of Arts, Barnard College, Columbia University
Taking tourism to the future
As tourism enters the third year of the global pandemic amid a slow recovery, a tremendous effort to sustain the sector is still needed, particularly from the private sector, which has worked hand-in-hand with the government.
During the most challenging era for hotels, the Thai Hotels Association (THA) led by president Marisa
Sukosol Nunbhakdi has taken a leading role in the country’s reopening initiatives, especially the ongoing Test & Go quarantine exemption scheme, where hotels have to handle the first RT-PCR test for all inbound guests.
Mrs Marisa said Covid-19 has been the worst crisis most tourism-related operators and businesses have ever experienced, making the THA president post a great challenge.
She has been president since August 2020.
Prior to president, Mrs Marisa worked for the association for years as environment chairman, promoting green hotels.
She said the association has more than 1,000 hotels as members and leadership carries with it heavy responsibilities because THA cannot leave anyone behind, whether they are international hotel chains or locally owned independent hotels.
The position requires her to conduct research and keep up with current themes. She gathers updated information on various topics from meetings with both public and private parties to communicate with members.
The key responsibility for THA is to respond to hoteliers’ needs.
Mrs Marisa said THA must cooperate with the government and tourism-related agencies to create effective measures that can help hospitality firms evade the worst effects of the pandemic.
Teamwork between THA committee members with varied expertise is crucial as they jointly seek solutions and have to speak with a single voice, she said, especially if it wants to bargain or send a strong message to the government regarding the hardship suffered by several hundred thousand workers in the sector.
Mrs Marisa is also executive vice-president of Sukosol Hotels, operating five properties in Bangkok and Chon Buri, such as The Siam (Bangkok), The Sukosol Bangkok and the Siam Bayshore Pattaya.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, she joined the family business to help her mother, Kamala Sukosol, in 1989.
Working as a hotelier requires self-learning skills to understand every process and operation in order to establish a professional business and services, said Mrs Marisa. The goal is to enhance competitiveness to battle against foreign companies, she said.
“Nothing comes easy. You need to have grit and work hard to succeed. These are life lessons I learned during 33 years in the hotel business.” said Mrs Marisa.
The importance of THA has become more relevant during the pandemic, as her mother and staff at Sukosol Hotels appreciate the leadership role Mrs Marisa plays as a representative of the tourism industry.
“We have to be even more passionate and work harder to fight for all our companions in the industry, instead of focusing on individual goals,” she said.