‘Inculcate positive attitudes’:
Stay focused to develop nation
The majority of Sri Lankans
are not disciplined and are irresponsible when it comes to work,
which is the biggest problem in the country. If proper attitudes
are inculcated in the people we could become a major developed
nation in the region.
- Picture by Hiran Senewiratne
|Name - Hiran Cooray
School attended - St. Joseph’s College, Colombo
Civil Status - Married with three children
Education qualifications - Bachelor of Science (BSc), UK
- Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
- Director, Small Luxury Hotels of the World,
- Secretary/Treasury of Pacific Asia Travel Asia
Sri Lanka can be transformed into a major developed nation, if the
people are disciplined and focused on their jobs or occupations, said
Jetwing Hotels Ltd Deputy Chairman Hiran Cooray.
He said that our people/workforce have all the talents and courage
but they are not focusing enough when it comes to their profession or
job. Therefore, if our country is to progress as a developed nation the
most important thing is to inculcate these sterling qualities in people,
Cooray said that in most developed nations the people are very
focused and dedicated to their job or occupation, which has paved the
way for them to be disciplined and also master the subject, they are
The majority of Sri Lankans are not disciplined and are irresponsible
when it comes to work, which is the biggest problem in the country. If
proper attitudes are inculcated in the people we could become a major
developed nation in the region.
These good attitudes and qualities could be inculcated through
education and having an all-round education in the country is equally
important to develop the country, he said.
Q: What are your views on the tourist industry in Sri Lanka?
A: If you look at this industry we see that the ethnic crisis is the
biggest problem. If the ethnic crisis is resolved the confidence level
of tourists on Sri Lanka will gradually improve. Once peace is restored,
it is a matter of rebuilding the country’s image, while attracting
professionals to the industry. The other important thing is to improve
infrastructure facilities in the country to promote tourism on a larger
Q: What are the future plans of Jetwing?
A: We have ten hotels and travel agencies. We are looking at
opportunities outside Sri Lanka. My aim is to provide the best product
to our customers. We have earmarked some properties overseas for the
Q: Is it viable or practical for small players in the local travel
and tourism industry to participate in major global events such
International Travel Exchange (ITB) or World Travel Mart (WTM) due to
the high cost factor?
A: It is worthwhile to participate in these mega global events where
it could help to build contacts and also give excellent exposure for
participants. It also helps to build networking and contacts with others
in the business. In the long term perspective these contacts are
Q: What is the impact of the current economic issues such as currency
fluctuation, high bank interest and inflation on the travel/tourism and
A: The current global economic recession has a huge impact on Sri
Lanka’s economy. Therefore, we need to learn how to live with them and
work hard to overcome the situation. However, the high bank interest is
the killer for our industry.
Due to this no one is willing to borrow or obtain loans to develop
the sector. If you want to see more development in the hotel and leisure
sector, the bank interest rates should be reduced to a single digit
whereas other issues could be managed to a greater extent.
Q: As a decision maker of a leading travel and tourism company, what
is your advice to national leaders in the country to reform the
A: My advice is that all Sri Lankans should be treated equally.
However, in reality it is not happening in the country.
When the ethnic crisis comes to an end our political leaders should
commit themselves to protect the rights of all communities in Sri Lanka.
All ethnic communities should feel that their rights are well
protected. If their rights are protected the rest will follow.
Q: How will Sri Lanka get an advantage out of the current global
A: In a global recession all get hit. But we still can see people
travelling and spending well.
The only alternative is to continue promoting destinations by
introducing special packages for such people. In view of the current
scenario the most important factor is to act accordingly.
Q: What countries would you like to visit most?
A: I have visited more than 70 countries and Sri Lanka is my first
choice. Apart from Sri Lanka I love to visit New Zealand, Laos and
Q: What is your philosophy in life?
A: I am a great believer in god and have strong faith in the power of
the Holy Spirit and due to that I can face any obstacle or challenge. My
father always advised me to work hard and my mother encouraged me to
pray. I always lend a helping hand to those coming up in life.
Q: What is your retirement plan?
A: I am still in my 40s and have not given any thought to retirement
as yet. One day I will have to retire and will mainly devote my time to
reading and enjoy nature