Kochakorn Chaiyabutr Managing Director of Tiger KingdomWhat special background and education do you have to hold the extraordinary position of Managing Director of Phuket’s Tiger Kingdom?
We first began this business because of our personal pleasure and passion with tigers. We’ve never taken any specific course or graduated in subjects specifically about wild animals. The best learning we’ve had is to simply observe and spend as much time as possible with tigers,and pay attention to their every step, interactions and behaviours. Moreover, we’ve also studied from tiger gurus and researched until we were sure that we were ready to
start this business full of knowledge. This is with safety and law being paramount for our business.What special skills do you have to use to run such an unusual business day to day?
We are dealing with tigers and we have to know exactly how to handle them. However, given time, and what with their instinct, they eventually become exactly like pets.We have cared for them since they were born and always treated them as a member of our family. They can adapt to us and get used to our scents, which in turn allows them to trust us more. Just give them love and treat them well and you’ll see a big difference in their behaviour. If you don’t threaten or intimidate them they will react just like cats or dogs would do. The turning point for our business came when an Australian customer wanted to touch one of our tigers which was in its cage. At that time we only allowed customers to look at them. However, as we were sure that our tigers were well trained and would not harm him we allowed him to go inside the cage with the tiger. This inspired us to research
more about starting “Tiger Kingdom”.What is the vision and mission of Tiger Kingdom in Phuket?
We put our focus on Thailand’s main tourism city, and of course, Phuket is one of the most famous destinations. Therefore, we thought this business could become one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions and would bring Thailand a fair bit of revenue. This business is unique and is not easy to set up. In fact, just because you have a lot of money doesn’t necessarily mean you can set up a business such as ours. We established this business correctly and legally and have certificates to prove it. We also have regular customers who come to visit their favorite tiger every year. This inspires us so much, and it helps us learn how to improve the business’ quality and services.What have you learnt about operating in Phuket since you opened Tiger Kingdom?
In the past we didn’t focus so much on marketing, we only approached a few local guides, taxis and select local media. However, we now know where we need to improve and are about to improve in areas of marketing where we were previously weak. We are ready to introduce a new marketing strategy which will include more online marketing, improved social media presence and increased publicity in general.What developments and innovations will we be seeing at Tiger Kingdom in the future?
We are preparing to expand our business internationally and introduce our brand to more countries in the near future. This will likely begin with Tiger Kingdom showing presence at international tradeshows. Moreover, we have built a tiger institution where we can relocate our older tigers and prepare them to breed. This is also a learning centre for those who wish to research, volunteer or study about tigers in general. This project has just been started in the Mae Tang district of Chiang Mai and has already welcomed researchers from around the world. In the future we plan to support and give out sponsorships for those who want to get involved in specialist research.
Tiger kingdom Phuket
118/88 Moo 7, Tambol Kathu, Kathu, Phuket 83120 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)76 323 311