Elegant and dynamic, Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree (Maew) is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Central Festival Group. We caught up with her in her “second office”, Starbucks Coffee Shop in Central.What educational background and experience do you bring to your role at Central?
I hold a MBA in Marketing Management from the College of Notre Dame Business School, USA and a BachelorsDegree from Chulalongkorn University.The First half of my career was spent leading Multi National Corporations of consumer goods companies, most notably Coca-Cola where I spent six years in brand and channel management; giving me an excellent foundation in world-class marketing. Following this, I also worked with Bristol Myers Squibb and L’Oreal, as Marketing Director of their largest division. From there, I progressed to work in property development with CPN/CRC where I has been employed since 2002.How did you get involved with Phuket?
In 2004 I joined the Central Group in Bangkok and they asked me to go to Phuket to oversee the development and opening of their new mega-mall at Central Festival in the center of the island.It was a time of great dynamism for Phuket which was of course then tragically marred by the tsunami in December 2004. I was involved with Central throughout that period and it taught me a great deal about the need for courage and determination in the face of adversity to get the job done and finally open from 2005.How do you see Central Festival in 2015?
Ten years on from launch we are now a fully integrated inbound destination for shopping, dining and entertainment for both locals and visiting tourists.I like to describe us as “Phuket’s Living Room” and many locals and visitors use us as a second home and spend many happy hours at Central shopping, dining, banking, watching movies, having a massage, a haircut or a manicure,entertaining their kids, or just browsing with family and friends. We have grown to become a fully integrated leisure destination and very much a part of the fabric of Phuket.How are the present changes to tourist demographics affecting you?
Obviously the current predominance of Chinese and Asian groups is a big factor for us. While these visitors spend less per capita than for example Russians and the Japanese and Europeans who were in the majority before them, they are enthusiastic group shoppers and the agents who manage them see a day at Central as very much a part of their “must do” itinerary. The Asian presence has also driven the evolution of some our outlets, as for example purchasing iconic global fashion brands is seen as an important part of the holiday experience to the Chinese groups.What future developments can we look forward to from Central?
We are currently construction Central Phase Two across the road from the established mall, opening in early 2018. We have brought to this new luxury wing a variety of tourist attractions like aquarium, floating market and other exciting entertainments and to bring in the world’s most
famous brand names.Once open, I believe the Central area of Phuket will be even more of an international “must visit” icon on a parallel with Orchard Road in Singapore for example.Central Festival Phuket
74-75 Moo 5 Vichitsongkram Rd.,Amphur Muang, 83000
Tel: +66 (0)76 291111www.centralfestivalphuket.com