Brits Abroad – Anthony Gill, Hoi An, Vietnam

22 March 2013 by
Brits Abroad – Anthony Gill, Hoi An, Vietnam

Anthony Gill is the general manager of the Nam Hai, an all-villa resort in Hoi An, Vietnam. He tells Janet Harmer why he will never work in any other country again

The people I work with every day motivate me to stay here. Outside Asia the industry has lost its connection with hospitality in its purest form and only responds with a minimum level of service. The Asian nations still demonstrate truly sincere hospitality on a daily basis.

What do you particularly like about Vietnam? Vietnam is still a hospitality frontier, raw and unrefined, and what we do as imported professionals is to develop the level of service and knowledge, which directly impacts the guest experience. I feel that I can really make a difference.

What are the best aspects of living and working in the country? Vietnam has great beaches, amazing culinary variations, wonderful openness to foreign visitors and huge richness of human resources. Why be anywhere else?

And the worst? The only thing I miss is not being able to go and see Newcastle play on a Saturday!

What are the key challenges of working in the region? There have been too many new hotel openings in the past five years, with not enough significant strides in infrastructure to complement this boom. Occupancy can be improved, but serious funding control issues within developments need to be addressed.

How easy has it been to get your various overseas jobs? It is not easy to break into Asia as it has become a hugely popular place to work - having Asian experience on your CV is a must. However, just keep knocking on the door and once you are in you can move up the career ladder with some pace.

Describe your current role As general manager of the Nam Hai - a GHM hotel - I supervise the operation of a 100-villa, top luxury property with around 600 personnel. GHM (General Hotel Management) operates super refined luxury resorts around the world.

What aspects of hospitality in Asia do you think the UK industry could benefit from? We obviously have a much lower salary burden, so we can have far more staff to guest ratio which favours the required service level/price match. Attitude, honesty and sincere willingness to serve are all part of Asia's DNA, which the UK could use.

Do you have any British employees working for you? No, the staff are all local, apart from two Germans, one Swiss, one Kiwi, two Nepalese, one Myanmarese and three Filipinos.

Is there a large British expat community working in the hospitality industry in Vietnam? Not really; there are far more Australians and French here.

What are the financial advantages of working abroad? Obviously we earn tax net salaries, as well as have expenses for international schooling and top medical care, but we have no pension, so the extra cash needs to be saved for the future.

Do you have family with you in Vietnam? My wife is Vietnamese and we have 
two boys.

Where else in the world would you like to work? I don't want to work anywhere else - I will never leave Vietnam again.

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