Having worked in a consulting capacity for the past 24 months, Mr Ayling now takes the reins to lead the development, beginning with its opening to the public in early 2019.
The B1.33 billion project is located on 140 rai in Cherng Talay, and will have a giant waterpark as its centrepiece.
Facilities within the 70.8-rai first phase, which opens to the public in the first quarter of 2019, include a Water and Entertainment park, a four-storey vertical Beach Club, Fitness Zone, Kid’s Club and multiple retail spaces.
The project also includes plans for a retail mall with a major supermarket as the commercial anchor as well as office spaces, nightly entertainment in an amphitheatre, a four-storey beach club, a Kid’s Club, a fitness zone and at least 17 restaurants and food outlets. and parking spaces for 500 cars.
The commercial amenities will be centred around the complex’s star attraction: Blue Tree Lagoon.
The 17,000-square-metre man-made lagoon will be flanked by artificial beaches and offers the ultimate aquatic playground for family-friendly and adrenaline-driven activities such as Slip N Fly water slides, splash zone and even cliff jumping.
Aside from utilising state-of-the-art technology to maintain water clarity, The Blue Tree Lagoon also boasts eco-friendly credentials. Powered by global innovator Crystal Lagoons’ sustainable technology, the lagoon uses up to 100 times fewer chemicals and 50 times less energy than conventional swimming pool systems.
Mr Ayling, a UK-born leisure industry professional, brings a wealth of experience to the role including 12 years at Laguna Phuket, one of the island’s best-known and most expansive resort and leisure complexes.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in such an ambitious project on this scale,” Mr Ayling said.
“Blue Tree will become a new icon for Phuket and it will help reshape the image of one of the world’s best-loved holiday destinations,” he added.
“Having been a part of the team for the past two years, from the master planning stages to partnership selections and management, I am extremely excited to now lead Blue Tree and ensure it will deliver a unique family experience to local Thais and expatriate residents and international visitors to the island.”
While working for Laguna Resorts & Hotels, a subsidiary of the Singapore-listed Banyan Tree Holdings, Mr Ayling oversaw the operations of eight different hotels – including two Banyan Trees, a Dusit Thani and Sheraton Grande – and a golf course, in addition to property development, construction, marketing and sales operations for over 400 residences.
Prior to joining Laguna in 2000, he spent more than a decade working in the professional service industry for KPMG, initially at its Oxford, England office before relocating with the firm to Papua New Guinea. His responsibilities are set to be just as diverse in his new role with Blue Tree Phuket.
The project will pre-launch in August and is positioned to become Phuket’s premier attraction appealing to Thai families, expatriate residents and tourists visiting the island, said a release issued on Tuesday (July 24), with other reports citing that admission prices are targetted at about B1,000 a head.
“Phuket will of course always be known for its spectacular sea and sand, but there’s been a clear demand for inland entertainment alternatives for some time now,” Mr Ayling said.
“Blue Tree will offer an immersive lifestyle experience that combines the fun of water sports, family activities, retail and relaxation in one strategically located destination that will cater precisely to this demand,” he added.