Unbeknown to many of the tourists who visit Phuket, the resorts in which they stay are owned, run and managed by true Phuketian families who have handed down the responsibility of their hotels through the generations. Any of the families were originally involved in the island’s tin mining or other industry and had very little knowledge of the tourism industry. However, today, there is a new generation of these families who are taking over the helm, and these youngsters are being educated to a world class level in hospitality management to ensure that their long running, and in some cases brand new business ventures, are being run to international standards, and that Phuket continues to be a world class tourist destination.
One such person is Sudawan Anumas (Aum), who less than one year ago, after successfully completing a BBA in Hospitality Management at Bangkok’s Assumption University, took over the position of General Manager at her family’s long standing Royal Phawadee Village in the island’s bustling tourist destination, Patong, where she takes care of the sales, marketing and day to day operations of the hotel.
Phuketindex.com were honoured to be able speak with Khun Aum to find out more about her business and personal life.
When you were younger what did you dream of doing?
I’m actually very lucky, as when I was younger I always dreamt of working in the industry I work in today, hospitality and tourism. Coming from Phuket, my father, who was originally involved in the banking industry, knew a lot of people working in the island’s tourism industry and I was lucky to be able to visit a number of the island’s hotels and resort from a very young age. It also gave me a chance to meet the people who run these hotels and learn about what they done for a living. From this time I knew I wanted to work in this industry and here I am today as the General Manager of my family’s hotel business.
What led you into your given career now?
I have to admit that my father gave this opportunity. This is a small family run business, and as I’m the only sibling, after I finished university I came straight back to Phuket to help him run the business. My father was also very lucky, as after he retired from banking he was advised to invest his money in a hotel, and had he not done so he would not have this very popular hotel and I would not be in the position I’m in now.
If someone met you for the first time how would you describe yourself to them?
If we’re talking in a business sense then I think I would say I’m a newcomer to this industry but am willing to learn and take advice from others I come across who have knowledge and experience in tourism.
On a personal level, I think most people I meet for the first time would believe that I’m a shy person, but I would actually say I’m a fun loving person who loves to spend quality time with my friends and family. I’m also a very easy going person who loves and feels very comfortable being around big groups of people.
There’s also a very different side of me which you will find out more about later in the interview.
Can you tell us where you like to go out and what you do in your spare time?
Usually after finishing work I like to go to a nice restaurant with friends to unwind from my business day. We’re so lucky here in Phuket to have so many restaurants that have such beautiful locations. My personal favourite is a restaurant at the top of Khao Rang Hill, the food is amazing and the views are absolutely spectacular!
However, at the weekends, when I have a bit more time to myself, I like to partake in some of the island’s adventure activities. At the moment, my favourite is zip-lining, we have only recently been able to do this, and I love the thrill of flying through the trees of our natural and untouched forests. It’s an amazing experience which any visitor to Phuket should try.
Do you think that Phuket has enough to offer for young people living here?
In recent times, there have been quite a large number of cafes which have opened up in Phuket, and I believe quite a few of these have opened because of changes in what youngsters like to do. I now see so many youths hanging out and soclialising in cafes. The trend for young people has changed a lot, they now like to take photos with their phones and share what they are doing on social media sites, and cafes and similar venues are places that satisfy their needs.
How would you describe your style and do you do you follow any fashions and trends?
I’m not a real fashionista, and I don’t tend to follow any trends. Unfortunately, sometimes what’s in fashion is not suitable for everybody to wear, so I try to choose things that suit me and that I’m confident and comfortable wearing.
What do you like and dislike about Phuket the most?
What I like the most is that Phuket is such a small province and everyone knows and helps each other. It’s very much like one large family. And what I dislike is the way people drive. Having lived in Bangkok before and then coming back here, it was a real shock, and I really don’t like driving here.
Do you have any role models, if so who are they and why?
I would have to say my father. He is a very nice guy who has such a good heart and loves sharing. He is also a very clever businessman and I have been able to learn so much from him.
What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
The one thing that comes to mind is something that my father always tells me, and that is we should give from a generous heart. If we give and we expect something in return, we are not really giving from a pure motive. But when we give from a generous heart, the joy of giving becomes its own reward, and positive energy can come back to you in some very unpredictable ways.
Please would you tell us something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
As I said earlier, most people believe I’m a very shy and quiet person, and most wouldn’t expect me to do anything like zip-lining. But one thing they don’t know is I also like firing guns at the shooting range, and I’m actually very good at it. For me, there’s nothing like the thrill and excitement of firing a gun hitting a bullseye.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I think I will still be working here at Royal Phawadee Village, but maybe the resort will see some changes during that time. It is also a dream of mine to expand and have more businesses in the hospitality industry. But I can guarantee I will still be working in the industry as it is something I’ am so passionate about.
Royal Phawadee Village
3 Sawatdirak Road, Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket 83150 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 76 344 622
Fax: +66 (0) 76 344 621