Young, ambitious and ready to rev up their business to greater heights, here is one of some of Asia’s next-gen CEOs according to TTG Asia.
Pursuing a tourism career was a natural option for Pham Ha, a Vietnamese native with a penchant for the good life and a strong interest in foreign languages – backed by a trio of degrees in French, English and business administration.
“I chose tourism as a career as I find it the happiest job in the world,” said Pham, who started guiding tours during his student days in the 1990s. “I can meet many people from different cultures, personalities, hobbies, backgrounds as well as new challenges, and a job well done makes people happy and me happy.”
His exposure to high-flying international visitors through travel guiding would shape his life outlook and career. “Thanks to them, I have developed a good taste of life and know how to live a good life. They come as foreigners but leave as friends,” he shared.
As Pham built up experience in the tourism industry in roles ranging from operations to sales and marketing, it deepened his desire to introduce Vietnam’s beauty to more foreigners; it also led him to identify a gap in high-end, tailor-made travel at a time when budget, low-quality service was the call of the day and luxe resorts and international-standard golf courses were still far and few between in the country.
With just “US$1,000, one person, one laptop and one website”, Pham founded Luxury Travel in 2004, positioning the company as a luxury tour operator specialising in privately guided, fully bespoke and experiential travel experiences.
To that end, the tourism entrepreneur has designed training programmes for each of his staff – whom he calls “Luxers” – to ensure they embrace professionalism and a positive attitude when engaging with customers.
Now, a decade later, the Hanoi-based DMC boasts offices throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, in addition to representative offices in California, London, Paris, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Brisbane and New Delhi.
Last year, Luxury Travel unveiled its new B2B website and established a joint-venture company -APT – in Cambodia.
As well, the ambitious Pham has sights set on realizing another dream: to be the owner of a luxury cruise boat. Come next month, he will launch Emperor Cruises (www.halong.emperorcruises.com) in Bai Tu Long Bay, a 8-all suite cabin traditional Vietnamese junk boat featuring six-star, all-inclusive cruising experience with butler service.
We want to create an experience that touches the heart and senses of the most discerning travellers. Our customers will be served like feudal emperors,” said Pham, who believed his latest venture would enable him to tap the unexploited ultra-luxury market. – Xinyi Liang-Pholsena