Mr Robert H. Burns, Founder of Regent
International Hotels, has received the SHTM Lifetime Achievement
Award 2020, and has been inducted into the School of Hotel and
Tourism Management’s Gallery of Honour.
The SHTM Lifetime Achievement Award was
established in 2016 to honour people who have contributed
substantially to the development of hospitality and tourism in
Hong Kong, the region and around the world.
“I am honoured to receive this year’s SHTM
Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Mr Burns. “It has been a
pleasure to be a part of this incredible global industry. Much of
the industry has evolved greatly just in the past few decades, and
I feel fortunate to have contributed in some small way. It is an
exceptional honour to receive this award from PolyU where the
school is known worldwide for its excellence in hospitality and
tourism management education. Congratulations to the faculty and
staff at the SHTM!”
Mr Burns has spent six decades in the hotel
industry, beginning at the Waldorf Astoria in the late 1940s,
while attending New York University. Following his time in New
York and after four years in the U.S. Army, he completed his
undergraduate degree at Michigan State University’s School of
Hotel Management with an MBA from the University of Michigan. He
then joined Sheraton Hotels’ management training programme,
working in hotels in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Nebraska. In
1960, he joined Sheraton hotels in Hawaii. Three years later he
became General Manager of the Kahala Hilton in Hawaii, where he
was also a faculty member of the University of Hawaii.
In 1970, Mr Burns founded Regent International
Hotels in Hong Kong, building one of the industry’s most renowned
5- star brands. The Regent Hong Kong opened in 1980 and under Mr Burns’ leadership, the group opened 18 luxury
hotels worldwide in 22 years. In 1992, Regent was acquired by Four
Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
In 2001, after a five-year restoration,
he opened the much-admired Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli in
Mr Burns was Chairman and Co-Founder of the World Travel and Tourism Council, as
well as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at
Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and the
University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management.
20 years, he lectured on Stanford University’s MBA programme and
served as Director of The Asia Pacific Fund and Chairman of The
Chrysalis Emerging Markets Fund, ING Barings and a Director of
Wharf (Holdings) Limited in Hong Kong.
Mr Burns also lectured
extensively through the Asia-Pacific region for the U.S. State Department
and PATA. In New York City, he serves
on the board of Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Expressing his heartfelt congratulations to Mr
Burns on receiving the SHTM Lifetime Achievement Award, Professor
Kaye Chon, SHTM Dean, Chair Professor and Walter and Wendy Kwok
Family Foundation Professor in International Hospitality
Management, said, “Mr Burns is a longstanding partner of the SHTM
and a truly deserving recipient of this award. With steadfast
support from industry partners such as Mr Burns, our School is
committed to nurturing all the bright minds who will become future
leaders of this very exciting global industry.”
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