NAPIRA Techacharn is that rare breed of person who has channelled a lifestyle passion into a niche business opportunity. In her case, a love of travel became the springboard for the creation of a travel agency that offers customised holiday planning for everyone from the well-heeled set down to ordinary families and backpackers.
“I love travelling and exploring so much that I can call it a fascination. Our travelling style that we offer in the business has no limitations – and that makes it different from the others,” says Napira, who is the managing director of Napira Travel Stylist.
“We can provide you with luxury restaurants, premium hotels and famous tourist attractions in the way that you prefer them.
“Besides, my inspiration for the travel design business is to make your trips the most outstanding they can be, and that is the motivation pushing my team and me forwards.”
The extra touches that Napira provides for customers are all about making the company live up to its title of being a travel stylist business.
“We hope to be a little part in the whole machinery that drives tourism in Thailand forwards. The more I’ve worked and learned about Thailand’s travel business, the more I strongly desire to help the local tourism sectors,” Napira says. “Also, I want to help distribute income to local people and to let foreign tourists experience more about the local tourism in Thailand, and these are greatest benefits that I can receive.
“In Thailand, wherever I go or whatever I do, it always makes me feel young again, because there are always new things waiting for me to learn and experience,” says 36-year-old Napira. “Some of these places are provinces in Thailand that I have never known before, and that surprises me even more. I came up with the idea ‘Local life, Local Experience’, and I think this is what other people must go and explore.”
Napira graduated from Assumption University with a bachelor of arts, majoring in business (English medium). While studying at Assumption from 2000 to 2005, she also gained a minor in advertising management. The year that she finished her studies in Bangkok she also completed a course in basic cuisine and basic patisseries from Le Cordon Bleu Institute in the United Kingdom. She added to these qualifications with a master’s degree in multimedia marketing from the University of Portsmouth, also in Britain, where she studied from 2005 to 2007.
“During my bachelor’s degree, I started planning my own trip and styling it in the way I am fond of. Then during my master’s degree in England, I found that travelling had turned into my passion,” she says.
“Every holiday and summer vacation, my friends and I loved to go travelling to new places and towns in England and many other countries in Europe. Each trip, we planned about what we were going to do and where we were going to eat. That was so much fun, seriously.”
There were also times that Napira had to travel on her own, but she was always one to get out and about rather than stay at home.
“Initially, the thought of travelling on my own made me full of fear, but my curiosity was bigger,” she says. “I think that was the moment that I could break through the wall for the very first time. That was because back then, I was treated and lived my life like a princess. But now, to go travelling by myself is like opening up to a new world that I have never been before. And yes, I finally found myself being fascinated with it.”
After finishing her studies and returning to Thailand, she took up work at Unseen Planet, an advertising and media agency in Thailand.
“I worked a lot on print media and marketing media for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). I had to search for resorts in Thailand, recommend hotels with a health programme, and also design tourism campaigns for them,” Napira says.
“I focused on promoting local tourism in Thailand, and that was the reason I had a chance to know many resorts and local communities, and from these experiences came my own business.”
Napira says her company organises private trips and acts as a travel concierge for families and corporations, for trips spanning the globe.
“Now we have expanded our business to cater to foreigners who would like to explore Thailand with local communities,” she says.
Napira is on one of the committees of the Young Entrepreneur Chamber of Commerce (YEC) in Bangkok, and now has connections with YEC members from all over Thailand.
“Thus, our team are experts when it comes to local tourism. We are insiders and we are sure that we can take to tourists unseen places with interesting activities,” she says.
“This led me to start G Venture by Napira, a Facebook page especially for local tourism. When we go to these places, we both travel and absorb the way of life of the people deeply. We live, laugh, learn, and understand their problems. And this also brought me the idea of volunteering, which is one of my new projects.
It is called Be Hub, a project that gathers people who love volunteering and helping other people.
“I have a chance to help villagers continue in their natural way, teaching and being engaged in local marketing projects. We help give local people, especially kids and the elderly, a better life. This provides amazing memories that fulfil my life. We have succeeded in those projects together, little by little, and we are so happy with that.”
Napira says there are any number of problems that local travellers can have in creating their own trips.
“For example, if you travel in a group tour, you have no choice to choose what you truly want. If you travel all alone on your own, you may get in unexpected troubles such as with food, accommodations or the direction.
“To style your trip, we have connections and a bunch of information from all over the world – accommodation, restaurants, shopping centres, or tourist attractions that you can trust in. These can be guaranteed by many business families, celebrities, and the many people who have travelled with us privately.”
For her ambitions for the business, she says they go beyond merely making the utmost profit.
“We hope to become one of the top three lists and be chosen by the customers based on their experiences with us,” she says.
However, Napira admits there is plenty of competition given the travel boom that Thailand is enjoying.
“Therefore, we need to make ourselves stand out as being different,” she says. “We need to understand the customers’ demands so that we can design and style the journeys that they want. We have to make our customers believe that their journey is designable.
“In the near future, I would like to do organic farming in the North of Thailand, building on all the experiences that I have earned from local communities.”
Napira says she has struck a good balance between work and personal life.“I think I am lucky because my hobby has become my job. I work on what I am passionate about,” she says. “Every time I go to work, I feel as if I am chasing my goal and fulfilling my dreams. I don’t feel like I’m really working.
“To work in this field provides the greatest chance to experience and explore new things - especially about the food; it has become my new hobby.
“My passion for food brings me to Chef’s Table, a new way of food presentation that also creates a new travelling route for me. I have just created a Doi Hang trip in Chiang Rai and it now has legs.
Tourists have been enjoying it and are interested in the local experience we provided. So, I will keep moving forwards on that initiative.
“Even though I am working on local tourism projects, I am still engaged in outbound tourism as well. I believe and have faith in the word ‘balance’. To balance your life, work, and happiness is the key to life, I would say.”
Napira believes in the power of gratitude, when it comes to crediting others for her success.
“I would like to say thank you to the people that I met in all the places that I have been to, as they have taught me so much,” she says. “I have been to a lot of luxury places and in many countries. But now I think is the time to aspire to simplicity.”XxxxxNapira graduated from Assumption University Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Business – English and Minoring in Advertising Management (2000-2005), Basic Cuisine and Basic Patisseries, Le Cordon Bleu Institute, United Kingdom (2004- 2005), and University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom Master of Multimedia Marketing (2005-2007).