Blue Tree Phuket has announced the appointment of Michael Ayling, a veteran of Phuket’s hospitality scene, as its general manager.
Having worked in a consulting capacity on the project for the past 24 months, Mr Ayling now takes the reins to lead the development, beginning with its opening to the public in early 2019.
The UK-born leisure industry professional brings a wealth of experience to the role including 12 years at Laguna Phuket, one of the island’s best-known and most expansive resort and leisure complexes.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in such an ambitious project on this scale,” Mr Ayling said.
“Blue Tree will become a new icon for Phuket and it will help reshape the image of one of the world’s best-loved holiday destinations,” he added.
“Having been a part of the team for the past two years, from the master planning stages to partnership selections and management, I am extremely excited to now lead Blue Tree and ensure it will deliver a unique family experience to local Thais and expatriate residents and international visitors to the island.”
While working for Laguna Resorts & Hotels, a subsidiary of the Singapore-listed Banyan Tree Holdings, Mr Ayling oversaw the operations of eight different hotels – including two Banyan Trees, a Dusit Thani and Sheraton Grande – and a golf course, in addition to property development, construction, marketing and sales operations for over 400 residences.
Prior to joining Laguna in 2000, he spent more than a decade working in the professional service industry for KPMG, initially at its Oxford, England office before relocating with the firm to Papua New Guinea. His responsibilities are set to be just as diverse in his new role with Blue Tree Phuket.
The sprawling 56-acre (140 rai) project will pre-launch in August and is positioned to become Phuket’s premier attraction appealing to Thai families, expatriate residents and tourists visiting the island. Located in the upscale Cherngtalay district within easy reach of Phuket’s popular central west coast, Blue Tree will be the island’s first international-standard, fully integrated waterpark and family entertainment complex, placing it firmly at the cutting-edge of a growing demand for inland tourism on the Pearl of the Andaman.
“Phuket will of course always be known for its spectacular sea and sand, but there’s been a clear demand for inland entertainment alternatives for some time now,” Mr Ayling said.
“Blue Tree will offer an immersive lifestyle experience that combines the fun of water sports, family activities, retail and relaxation in one strategically located destination that will cater precisely to this demand,” he added
Facilities within the 28-acre first phase, which opens to the public in the first quarter of 2019, includes a Water and Entertainment park, a four-storey vertical Beach Club, Fitness Zone, Kid’s Club and multiple retail spaces.
In addition, 17 restaurants and food outlets will cater to all tastes and budgets, centred around the complex’s star attraction: Blue Tree Lagoon.
The spectacular 17,000 square metre man-made lagoon is flanked by artificial beaches and offers the ultimate aquatic playground for family-friendly and adrenaline-driven activities such as Slip N Fly water slides, splash zone and even cliff jumping.
Aside from utilising state-of-the-art technology to maintain water clarity, The Blue Tree Lagoon also boasts eco-friendly credentials. Powered by global innovator Crystal Lagoons’ sustainable technology, the lagoon uses up to 100 times fewer chemicals and 50 times less energy than conventional swimming pool systems.