Training the Sports Elite – Bloomberg Interviews Thanyapura’s CEO

Thanyapura’s President and CEO Mr. Phillipp Graf Von Hardenberg spoke to Bloomberg’s Angie Lau in Hong Kong about training the sports elite in Southeast Asia and Phuket. The interview was featured on the programme “First Up” this morning.


Interview transcription

Who are your closest rivals and where are they based?

The closest rivals that we have are in Europe. There is no place like Thanyapura in Asia.

No place like yours in Asia – why now, why this moment?

I think people are getting more and more health conscious and active and that is exactly what we cater to. So, we are a training centre, we are a hotel, a mind centre and we have a clinic, so basically we cater to all these needs.

You cater not only to the needs of your visitors but some of the most elite athletes in the world including Maria Sharapova and Formula 1 racing drivers training at Thanyapura. Why would a F1 driver need physical training?

For Formula 1 drivers, they come to train in our kind of weather and our kind of conditions and we have the best facilities for them to train. If they have races and big events in Asia, it doesn’t make sense for them to go back to Europe or America, so they stay between the races in Asia.

What did Maria Sharapova say about Thanyapura?

She loved it! She loved it so much that she is coming back this year again, like many of these athletes.

Is there something about the heat and humidity, and training in that type of humidity?

Yes, the heat helps athletes prepare themselves for the big world championships and for the Olympics. If you see where the next two Olympics are, these are in places with humid weather like Rio and Tokyo, so that is why they come to us.

If you are creating opportunity and vacuum where none existed before in Asia, why aren’t other people doing it?

I think other people are looking into it. We have many people who come to us to see what we are doing but it isn’t that easy. We have 40 professional coaches, who work full time with us, and we offer up to 80 very specialised sport activities and classes. We are totally different to a resort hotel, even though we offer health and mindful services. We are a training centre. We are more of a professional training centre where people come to better their performance or to start in a sport where they want to progress and those facilities and services are not easy to deliver.

You do have world class athletes attending and world class athletes are coming to Asia more and more. How does this help you with your growth? You have got Tokyo Olympics just to name one, and possibly China getting another Olympics but also we are seeing more tennis and Formula 1 races and all the rest here in Asia. How does this feed into growth for you?

It’s great for us and it’s absolutely wonderful for us because these athletes need to train in similar conditions. The more [competitions] that come to Asia mean that we are basically in more demand. We are the training centre that all these people come to do their training.

Much of your clients are Chinese and there is a slow down happening in China right now. How are you dealing with those challenges?

To be honest, we aren’t feeling it right now. The customers who come to us are not the normal Chinese tourists. The people who come to us come for very specific reasons, so we don’t feel all these slowdowns.


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Training the sports elite

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