Thailand has received praise from the World Health Organisation for the way the country has handled the Covid-19 situation. But there is no denying it remains a challenging time for anybody involved in the tourism industry. It still isn’t clear when international tourists will be allowed to return to Thailand, but that time will come. In the meantime, hotels and tour operators are already adapting to the ‘new normal’ as the country opens up to domestic tourists. In this interview we speak with Khun Waraporn, Assistant Managing Director at Devasom Resorts to gauge her thoughts on Thailand’s new normal and the way forward for tourism.
Please introduce yourself
I’m Waraporn Atirak (nickname Meow). My position at Devasom Resorts is Assistant Managing Director focusing on sales and marketing activities. The resorts are family owned, and I am a part of the family so my role covers everything and anything – even from day one when we studied the history of the location as a starting point for the resort with the concept project.
Tell us more about Devasom Resorts
Devasom Resorts operates two charismatic resorts presented in a way that takes visitors back in time and embraces the local culture and natural beauty. Derived from Sanskrit words, ‘deva‘ for angels and ‘ashram‘ for residence, Devasom means ‘house of angels’ which refers to a peaceful place where people can rest, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature and local experiences.
Our first beach resort, Devasom Hua Hin Resort, has consistently been winning awards since it first opened its doors in 2010. It is now ranked among Thailand’s best small luxury resorts. Our next property, the intimate Devasom Khao Lak Beach Resort & Villas, opened in December 2018. We offer genuine hospitality and showcase the charms of the local culture and picturesque natural surroundings.
Share with us what you and the team at the Devasom Resorts have been working on
Covid-19 has hit the tourism industry hard. From the hotel side, we have been thinking of possible scenarios and ways to action them to tackle how we welcome guests in the future. Thanks to the size of the hotel, we can quickly adapt and implement the procedures required to ensure safety and wellbeing for our guests.
Taking this time to ‘pause’ and rethink, we have refreshed and created many enhancements to sustain our business when the recovery period is back in action. For example, we have enhanced all hygiene measures across our hotels. Our food and beverage team have designed the new breakfast set menu and our resort activities will have a more travel and health related focus. Our spa and wellness team is developing a new wellness program too.
Devasom Khao Lak was the first hotel in Phang Nga to pass the health and safety standards from the Phang Nga province and local authorities. We were the sixth hotel in all of Thailand to receive the SHA certificate.
Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA)
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched a new safety initiative to prepare for the return of tourism post Covid-19. Working closely with public and private sector partners, TAT has introduced an initiative known as the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA). Hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, transport services and other facilities in Thailand are able to apply for SHA certification, but must strictly follow the COVID-19 control guidelines issued by the Ministry of Public Health.
More details here
What did you miss most when the hotel was closed and why?
As people were confined to their own home during lockdown many will simply want to enjoy the fresh air and have the therapy of the natural environment. I really hope that people can travel again soon because for me to travel is to live. Food feeds our body but traveling feeds our soul. I miss our beloved friends, family and all our guests and the beautiful face-to-face conversations we enjoy here.
What do you think a holiday in Thailand will be like in the future?
Thailand managed to handle the pandemic well. We will maintain the high hygiene standards and measures to ensure that Thailand is a safe sanctuary for foreign tourists and Thai people to visit and enjoy.
Are there any booking trends you have observed?
Devasom Khao Lak reopened on 19 June 2020, and we have received very positive feedback from the domestic market. Guests tend to stay in private pool units and choose to spend their holiday time at the small resort located on a pristine beach to avoid the crowds.
What (if any) will be the biggest difference guests at the Devasom Resorts will experience?
Our guests will benefit from the enhanced international hygiene measures and safety guidelines but without impacting the pleasure of their holiday. We believe that the beauty of the natural surroundings, a genuine local experience, and amicable minds will distinguish the experience at Devasom for our guests.
A big thank you to Khun Waraporn from Devasom Resorts for taking time to speak with us. When international travel opens up, you will find a warm welcome awaiting at Devasom Khao Lak and Devasom Hua Hin.
Images and video copyright of Devasom Resorts and reproduced here with kind permission. Video shot before the Covid-19 pandemic.
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