Youthful, good looking and energetic are the immediately striking characteristics of Khun Prasert Tanhansa as he bounds around his desk in the office of Thai Intentional in Phuket Town to meet us. In addition, he turns out to be a man of many fascinating parts.
What background do you bring your position of Phuket Manager of Thai?
After graduating from Ramkhamhaeng University and brief spells with the Oriental Hotel and Thai Farmers Bank, I joined Thai International at the age of thirty. I initially worked in Traffic at Don Muang Airport, but then moved to Head Office where I worked in the Amadeus CRS department and then on the Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer program.
Subsequently I joined Passenger Sales which I considered my true calling. I was involved in managing the introduction of our Krabi service, which quickly became daily and then I was appointed as District Manager for Lower Southern Thailand based in Hat Yai.
In 2004 I was appointed the GM in Mumbai and after three years I moved on to Nepal, from where I also oversaw our Bhutanese sales agent, which was fascinating.
I arrived in Phuket around a year ago at an exciting, although challenging time for the island’s tourism.
What are your development priorities for Thai in Phuket?
We are dedicated to building more non-stop direct connections to our primary markets such as our Seoul route and also developing our Copenhagen, Perth and Hong Kong routes. Obviously the geography of our most lucrative future routes is changing. Europe and the west are mired in debt and currency crises while emerging market such as Russia, China, the Middle East and India are roaring ahead. We anticipate more connections with these newer high in-bound catchment markets and I foresee growth in our direct connections and frequencies with Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, Moscow and the like.
What do you foresee for the development of Phuket itself?
Increasingly visitors view Phuket as a separate and discreet destination on its own, somewhat divorced from the rest of Thailand. Hence, political and flooding woes have if anything benefitted Phuket for in-bound travel.
Phuket offers good value compared with most in-bound markets which will become increasingly important as austerity measures start to take their toll in many Western markets. Phuket has a great geographic location and the natural welcoming friendliness and southern style of the local population. I think all these things will help support Phuket’s future visitor growth. In addition the airport upgrade will double the handling capacity within the next three years and the island’s road network will expand, enabling us to more efficiently handle transit into and out of Phuket.
What impression would you like visitors to take with them when they leave Phuket?
Visitors are our treasured guests and so they should be welcomed and treated with courtesy and smiles, so that they become our best ambassadors for other visitors and also return themselves for future visits. This, I think, is the duty of everyone who has the opportunity to work in Phuket’s exciting tourism sector.
What do you do to relax?
I am something of a fitness nut so I play many sports particularly soccer, volleyball and basketball. I also play guitar, sometimes on stage with a band and I also enjoy acting and have even done a little modeling!