HOI AN, Vietnam — After spending 20 months driving the growth of Asia’s most dynamic new holiday destination, Anthony Gill is relinquishing Central Coast Vietnam chairmanship duties to Michal Zitek, another hotel general manager who believes in the region’s tourism potential.
During his time as the head of Central Coast Vietnam, Gill was instrumental in a number of the destination marketing organization’s most important initiatives, including the institution of direct flights from Bangkok, the implementation of a visa waiver for select European citizens and, most recently, the relaunch of the website (www.centralcoastvietnam.com).
“It’s been a productive run,” said Gill, who will continue to helm Vietnam’s premier beach resort, The Nam Hai. “But the conch is being passed to a very capable man. I have no doubt that Central Coast Vietnam will not merely experience success under Michal’s leadership, but reach even greater heights.”
Zitek, who has served as general manager of two Central Coast Vietnam member hotels — Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co — since January 2015, brings 25 years of hospitality wisdom to his latest endeavor.
He is eager to pick up where Gill left off, especially as it relates to increasing international access to central Vietnam.
“Thanks in large part to Tony, we made great strides in that regard over the past year,” said Zitek. “His lobbying prompted new routes from Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Busan and, come May 25, Bangkok. It’s impressive how far this destination has come. But I like to think there’s a lot more hay to be made.”
Established in 2012, Central Coast Vietnam is funded by 20 world-class properties along the 100-kilometer corridor between UNESCO World Heritage sites Hoi An and Hue.
The cooperative’s website trumpets them all, and calls attention to the area’s many other draws, such as its pristine beaches, championship-caliber golf courses and exquisite culinary opportunities.
The platform also features user- and mobile-friendly sections dedicated to shopping options and the latest promotions, news and events, as well as six informative-yet-digestible pages designed to aid trip planning and itinerary development.
"The central coast of Vietnam is one of Asia’s great travel destinations," said Zitek, an Australian national of Czech heritage who has worked in Asia since 2004. "I’m not sure there’s another destination in Southeast Asia — or all Asia for that matter — that offers so many remarkable experiences in so many different directions.”
Gill will now focus solely again The Nam Hai, which is coming up on its 10th anniversary in December. Over the past decade, the GHM-managed beach retreat has amassed a slew of prestigious awards, including ‘World’s Best Resort’ by Travel + Leisure magazine’s Design Awards panel.
Despite the responsibilities that come with the Central Coast Vietnam chairmanship, Zitek will continue to oversee operations at the two hotels that form the greater Laguna Lang Co integrated resort project, which opened in April 2013 on a secluded beach halfway between Danang and Hue.
Zitek is confident he can handle it all.
“I’m fortunate in that Chi Nguyen is Central Coast Vietnam’s director of destination development,” said Zitek. “She’s been in that role for three years, and has supported and driven so much of what the group has accomplished to date. Being able to lean on her is going to help a lot.”