Jak Phillips


Location icon United Kingdom

Writer currently based in London who has freelanced for TIME Magazine, VICE, The Ecologist, Planet Ivy and others.

Head of News at Leisure Media. Ex-Foreign Editor at the Viet Nam News and former reporter at the Luton News/Herald & Post and the Leighton Buzzard Observer.

Health Club Management
A Daley dose of fun

Jak Phillips pays a visit to Daley Thompson’s new gym in Putney, London, to see how it’s putting the fun back into fitness.

Attractions Management
Marty Sklar: Lessons I learned from Walt Disney

Discounting the great man himself, there can be few people who’ve played such a key role in Disney’s success as Marty Sklar. During a 54-year career, in which Sklar started out as the writer of Walt Disney’s narratives and ended as the realiser of his visions, the IAAPA Hall of Famer played a hand in the opening of all 11 Disney parks around the world.

Health Club Management
Exclusive: Jeremy Hunt’s obesity pledge ‘misses the mark’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to make addressing the “great scandal” of childhood obesity a top priority of this Parliament has been dismissed as ineffective by the boss of one of Britain’s top fitness companies.

Health Club Management
Market analysis: Direct hit

Sports Direct has announced that it will offer gym memberships for as little as £5 a month. Jak Phillips asks what the implications might be for the rest of the fitness sector

Health Club Management
Wearable technology: Wearing it well

Tech giants such as Apple and Google are pouring millions into what's frequently dubbed 'the next big thing', while the wearables market is also courting innovation from a host of exciting start-ups.

Spa Business
Everyone's talking about: Russia

Jak Phillips gives an overview of the Russian spa industry and those working in the sector share their insights on the opportunities and challenges for businesses

Spa Business
Braving the Russian Banya

As I lie on a bed of pine leaves, sweating profusely in an 80°C heat sauna while a burly Russian smacks my bare buttocks with a scolding bundle of twigs, I begin to understand that a banya experience is a little more extreme than your typical spa session.

Attractions Management
The Inside Track on China's Panda Diplomacy

Giant panda leasing is now big business around the world, but zoos looking to do deals with China must be prepared for a huge investment of both time and money. Jak Phillips examines the bare necessities of the practice...

Sports Management
Turning the Tide on the UK's Inactivity Epidemic

Despite their similarities, it's fair to say the sport and fitness industries have found fulfilling their collaborative potential fairly hard. The fragmented nature of the sectors - with tangled combinations of private, public and voluntary operations, plus myriads of associations - has meant meaningful co-ordination has often been frustrated.

A Massage Parlour Owner Explains How Bitcoin Will Help Attract Clients

Much has been made of Bitcoin's emergence into the mainstream, particularly with its recent acceptance by the online retailer Overstock. But let's not forget that one of the original reasons the cryptocurrency grew popular was that it allowed for transactional discretion-the supposedly untraceable Bitcoin was ideal for dodgy dark net deals.

Leisure Opportunities
Florida Art Museum Appoints Norman Foster For Redevelopment

The deputy director of Florida's Norton Museum of Art believes hiring world- renowned architects Foster and Partners for its new transformation has sent a "clear message" of the institution's "serious ambition" to become a major international art venue.

Why Were Vietnam Elected to the UN Human Rights Council?

Last week, the UN elected serial human rights repressor Vietnam to its 47-seat Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Despite operating a single party communist regime - under which freedom of speech, right to protest and many other liberties are routinely denied - Vietnam received the most votes from UN members of the 14 newly elected countries (184 out of 192).

Pimps, cops and disease - the daily dangers faced by Hanoi's forgotten homeless

From the wrinkles and creases surrounding Nguyen Thi Loan’s jaundiced eyes, you can almost trace Vietnam’s century of pain. They stand testament to the oppression of French occupation, the horrors of US invasion and the suffering from years of post-war starvation. The tragic irony is that even today, this frail old lady is well-placed to observe the harshest aspects of modern Vietnam. From her makeshift bed – a doorway in Hanoi’s Old Quarter encircled by rats and cockroaches – the destitution...

Exploring Vietnam's Lunchtime Sex Motels

In terms of vices, Vietnam is a country with its priorities firmly in place. A pack of Marlboro Reds is cheaper than a cup of coffee, a litre of Hanoi Vodka – the country’s vaguely drinkable answer to Glen’s – costs less than a box of cereal and the best part of two months each year are given over to a huge party called Tết, which is kind of like New Year's Eve and the last night of Glastonbury rolled into one, but with a few more firecrackers, masks and games of "catch the duck blindfolded".

Vietnam Won't Stop Locking Up Its Bloggers

Vietnam is not a good place to be a blogger. At least, it's not a good place to be a blogger if you actually want to write what's on your mind. *Written under pseudonym to protect identity*

TIME Magazine
LGBT Rights Blossom in Repressive Vietnam, but No Sign of Further Freedoms

" Oppressive." " Brutal." " Terrible and worsening." These were some of the fierce editorial lightning bolts to scorch Vietnam's human-rights reputation last week, hurled in the wake of a surprise 75-minute White House audience for the country's President Truong Tan Sang.

The Viet Nam News
Chinese & cocktails capture the imagination - Restaurant Review

Offering sophisticated takes on Chinese classics, followed by an uber-chic cocktail lounge with unrivalled views of the WestLake, the Sofitel Plaza's Ming Restaurant gives guests a dining experience they are unlikely to forget.

I Ate and Drank Cobra in Vietnam's Snake Village

Ever been slumped in a Wetherspoons, nursing some guest ale with the texture of sick and taste of soup, surrounded by screaming kids and defeated old men, and wondered if the experience mightn't be improved if it included a spot of barbaric animal cruelty?

The Ecologist
Phu Quoc Island: Trouble in Paradise

Many in authority will say that it's important to protect wildlife and then eat an endangered sea turtle for dinner The sand swallows your feet. Azure water nuzzles the ankles. From the not too distant mangrove swamps, exotic species beckon you in with their mating call.

Backpacking in Vietnam... with mum and dad

A tale of hookers, fights, drugs and snoring as one traveller backpacks through Vietnam, with his parents in tow. Backpacking, a time to discover the unknown and find yourself, or more aptly lose yourself, in a fishbowl full of whiskey with magic mushroom croutons.

The Viet Nam News
Sa Pa springs a mountain of surprises

For an Englishman at least, time spent abroad or on a gap year is supposed to be a period for debauchery and enlightenment. The chance to sample exotic cultures, chiefly from the bar, while chain-smoking cheap local cigarettes and indulging in a host of other dubious practices.

TIME Magazine
The Office Holiday Party Survival Guide

Often dreaded, more often regretted, the office Christmas party can be a potential minefield, with the twin threats of social and professional humiliation combining to form an explosive deterrent. The stakes are certainly high, but if you can manage to lay off the sambuca and steer clear of the photocopier, then office parties present a great opportunity to put yourself at the top of the management wish list.

TIME Magazine
London 2012: 6 Tips for Saving Money at the Olympics

If you're heading to London for the Summer Games, it was expensive enough just getting your airfare, tickets and lodging. So once you're in the Motherland, there are a number of ways you can enjoy the Olympics without digging too far into your wallet. Here are TIME Moneyland's six tips for saving money in London.

TIME Magazine
Games Changer: Can the Olympics Save London's Pub Trade?

Across the East London skyline, armies of cranes are busy assembling industrial jigsaw pieces into seductively curved Olympic stadia. But a mere javelin's throw away from this shiny modern metropolis sits the Queen's Head, an aging East End pub, which, judging by the interior, hasn't changed much since London last hosted the Olympics in 1948.

TIME Magazine
Summer Olympics 2012: How to Stay in London for $15 a Night

With the average cost of 2012 Olympics packages (including tickets, airfare and lodging) pushing $10,000 for the events that haven't sold out yet, you may be surprised to know that you can still get lodging in London for as little as $15 a night. The only catch is you'll be sleeping outside.

TIME Magazine
5 Tips for Surviving the Fund-Raising Minefield

In the old days it was easy. A hasty triple tap of the close-elevator button and a speedy 5 p.m. getaway were it all took to stop Bill in accounts from guilting you into sponsoring his half-marathon for the 15th time that year.

TIME Magazine
Is That Really a Photo of Pippa and Prince Harry?

Look closely - it's a cleverly staged parody by artist Alison Jackson. She's snapped Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton in a loving embrace, Simon Cowell receiving an intimate waxing and a naked Tiger Woods using just a club cover to protect his modesty.

TIME Magazine
London 2012: Businesses Promise Not to Gouge Tourists During Olympics

When the greatest show on earth heads to one of the world's most expensive cities, it goes without saying that more than a few credit cards will be working overtime. But for the brave souls who are heading to London this summer, a pioneering scheme from its mayor may well mean that at least one of their kids still gets to go to college.

TIME Magazine
Top 10 Nobel Prize Controversies

Nothing sparks debate like the Nobel Prize. This week we've already had accusations of insularity, Brits betting on Bob Dylan and the unfortunate case of a winner dying without the Nobel Committee realizing it. TIME takes a look at the most controversial moments in the 110-year history of the prize The U.S.

TIME Magazine
Christopher Hitchens: Friends and Fans Pay Tribute on Twitter

Celebrated author, journalist and contrarian Christopher Hitchens passed away due to complications from cancer last night at 62. Throughout his colorful career, the British-born writer frequently polarized opinion - and while many questioned his arguments, Hitchens' talent remains undoubted.

TIME Magazine
Britain Steps Up Its War on Legal Highs

Strolling through Camden Market, the modern-day mecca for London's indie scenesters, a suspicious mix of darting eyes and exotic smells gives you the impression that the sea of shops and stalls offer something slightly more sinister than your standard Big Ben replicas.

TIME Magazine
Going to the 2012 London Olympics? Better Be Preparing

Britain may end up being the most popular vacation destination this summer, and there's no bigger event happening in the U.K. this year than the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. While it's still months away, if you're not actively planning your trip by now, you bloody well should be.

TIME Magazine
How to Make Recruiters Work for You

A call from a recruiter is more likely to be for their gain than yours. Still, that call could be the springboard for your next jump up the career ladder. With the economy still sputtering and the unemployed outnumbering job vacancies by six to one, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recruiters and headhunters are becoming an increasingly vital contact.

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