What is your full name and age?
My full name is Tjeert Kwant and in Thailand I’m mostly called “TJ”, luckily a nickname is common here. My age is 55 (haha, and its true).
What is your current job position?
Since 2016 I am the CEO of the Banyan Thailand Hua Hin group that includes the Banyan Golf Club, Residence and Village and another 800+ rai of development land.
How long have you lived in Hua Hin or been coming to Hua Hin?
My first visit to Hua Hin was in 2010 after being invited by one of the owners of Banyan. We lived in Bangkok at that time however loved spending free time here and have returned several times since then. After I started to work for Banyan I commuted between Bangkok and Hua Hin until we moved to live full-time in Hua Hin last year.
What did you know about Hua Hin before you moved here?
To be honest, I only started to discover what Hua Hin really has to offer since we moved here. Although I spent a lot of time here since I started to work for Banyan in 2016, most of the time I visited just a limited number of places relevant for work, stay and eat. Over the last 14 months I found out that Hua Hin offers most of what makes Thailand into such a popular holiday destination.
What do you like most about your profession?
Creating new opportunities. I like to create and being creative together with a team of like-minded people. Banyan as a project and Hua Hin as a destination is offering great opportunities for expressing such creativity.
One example is the conversion of the Banyan Resort into a long-stay Village and by the way, we already decided on this plan before the virus started to affect the market. Since we executed this plan, we have a growing number of happy residents forming an active community. Another example is the Banyan Privilege Club that we established, and which has more than 700 Members mostly from the Hua Hin region. This Privilege Club is offering attractive benefits & discounts and also a monthly social event to the members and at the same time interesting business opportunities for our local Privilege Partners having access to a local community with good spending power.
What do you like least about your profession?
The fact that certain developments and procedures can take more time than desired while the market opportunities are ‘now’. On the flipside, it is also an interesting challenge to anticipate on market trends and developments and being an innovator, that is the part I like most. I think in opportunities, not in limitations.
What do you like most about Hua Hin?
On 20th October we organized our Banyan Privilege Club party under the theme “We Love Hua Hin” and I mentioned in my speech that day that I love Hua Hin because of because of the exotic and amazing nature, the contrast between the mountains and the ocean having wildlife on our doorstep. And, I love it here because of my role at Banyan and the wide range of exciting business opportunities that Hua Hin provides. I would like to add that in recent months I experienced that business owners and management in tourism industry feel the need for and are interested in joining hands and combine forces to promote Hua Hin as a destination, something that excites me.
What is your favorite restaurant and why?
I like different cuisines and ambiances to go for lunch or dinner and therefore have more than one favorite place. If I have to choose one than I would mention “Sea Harmony”, a very cute, small restaurant in Khao Takiab, not far from my house. They serve great food, each day a surprise dinner and an ambiance hard to explain in words.
What do you like to do in your free time and why?
With the family enjoying trips into nature like recently to Khao Yai and Kui Buri and weekend trips to Bangkok to enjoy time with friends. And I love to play tennis, often 3 times a week or more and am lucky that Hua Hin offers the world-class True Arena and some other nice tennis facilities. I like to be active, to enjoy life to the full and spend such time with the family. It is also essential to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically.
What would you recommend to new-commers to do in Hua Hin and why?
As mentioned, many people do not realize that the Hua Hin region offers most of what makes Thailand such an attractive tourist destination. There is such a wide variety of attractions and I would recommend the new-commers to check it out carefully as most probably Hua Hin is offering their favorite activity.
Tell us a surprising fact that the public might not know about you?
As CEO of Banyan that includes the world-class and multiple awarded golf club, people might expect me to be a golfer and play often. It might be surprising that I never played golf at Banyan nor anywhere else in Thailand. Now that I am living in Hua Hin full-time, I will start taking golf lessons soon and hope to finish a first round of golf before the end of 2020.