Mr Adrian Zecha, founder of Aman Resorts, received the inaugural SHTM Lifetime Achievement Award from the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) at a ceremony held in his honour at the SHTM’s teaching and research hotel, Hotel ICON, on 19 May 2016.

The SHTM Lifetime Achievement Award* *is established by the SHTM to honour outstanding personalities who have contributed substantially to the development of hospitality and tourism industry in Hong Kong, the region and around the world. In awarding the distinction, the School seeks to recognise true leaders who help define the global hospitality landscape and advance the industry as a whole. Mr Adrian Zecha is the first recipient of this prestigious award.

At the award ceremony, PolyU President Professor Timothy W. Tong, said, “Widely recognised as visionary, Mr Zecha continues to create, develop and operate hotels and resorts throughout his career. His contribution to the international hotel sector is without parallel and he is truly a deserving recipient of the School’s Lifetime Achievement Award.”

“It is a tremendous compliment for me to be awarded the SHTM Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Mr Zecha. “The SHTM has gone from strength to strength and is now a highly regarded hotel and tourism school in Asia. The School is uniquely positioned to cultivate the human capital needed to drive the overall development of the industry. I’m very much encouraged to witness such a remarkable commitment in education partnership right here. It is this dedicated level of partnership between academia and industry that propels us forward.”

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Mr Adrian Zecha has founded a series of successful hotel and resort companies, conceiving and developing more than 100 internationally-applauded properties around the world.

Initially a journalist and publisher, Mr Zecha’s entry into hospitality was as one of the founding members of Regent International Hotels, recognised in its day as the finest international hotel management company. His entrepreneurial role with Regent was focused on the development and positioning of the brand.

Selling his interest in Regent International in 1986, he went on to partner with Georg Rafael in the Rafael Hotel Group, which focused on the acquisition and management of luxury five-star hotels and resorts in Europe and the US. The company was eventually sold to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Mr Zecha also founded Beaufort Hotels, which opened luxury hotels in Brisbane, Darwin, Singapore and Bangkok.

In 1987 he independently developed, with a group of investors, a small resort and villa property named Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand. This property went on to become the flagship for Amanresorts, a world-renowned benchmark for luxury hotel living.

Mr Zecha currently serves as non-executive Chairman of General Hotel Management, which develops and operates three, four and five star hotels and resorts throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas, including the highly-successful Setai in Miami.

“As a world-leading hotel and tourism school, the SHTM has forged close partnership with many of our industry partners and academic institutions in the region and around the world. Our commitment to excellence is well supported by distinguished individuals such as Mr Adrian Zecha,” remarked Professor Kaye Chon, Dean and Chair Professor of the SHTM and Walter Kwok Foundation Professor in International Hospitality Management. “Today, our students, alumni and scholars cover the globe in their search for knowledge and excellence, and their contributions make a difference everywhere. With concerted efforts, we will continue to play a leading role in nurturing talents for the advancement of the entire industry globally”.