Along with being named the continent’s Best Golf Destination for every year since 2017, the World Golf Awards also named Vietnam the top golfing destination in the world in both 2019 and 2021.
|Golf set to drive tourism recovery |
One professional golfer from the Philippines shared that he was impressed with the quality of golf courses in Vietnam when he came to the nation to participate in the golf tournament at SEA Games 31.
“In addition to the courses used for the event, I know that Vietnam owns many beautiful coastal golf courses of high quality, not inferior to any top quality golf course in the world. My colleagues and I will definitely come back here again,” the golfer said.
Golf director Adam Calver from Laguna Golf Lang Co Central Vietnam said that just a few days after Vietnam reopened international flights in March, his company received a boost in bookings from tourists based in South Korea, Singapore, and domestically, with travellers looking to mix morning golf schedules with remote villa working in the afternoons.
“The demand for golf tourism is surging. Before, I would have said that anyone serious about golf travel should be coming to Vietnam at least once in their life. With world-class courses opening all the time, I would revise that to say that you’d need to return every few years to do the place justice,” said Calver.
Golf tourism is considered one of the top development strategies for Vietnam’s tourism products in the coming years.
Vu Van Tuyen, CEO of Travelogy Vietnam, said that golf tourists to Vietnam are mainly from the US, Canada, Australia, South Korea, and Japan and often buy tours in three packages: a combo, a resort combined with participation in golf tournaments, and playing golf during a business trip.
However, tour operators do not seem to be interested in implementing tours because the discount rate of golf courses for travel agencies is not high, and guests can change their plans suddenly while the services in the golf courses must be booked and paid for in advance.
“Most of the guests who play golf are high-spending customers. At the same time, the probability of tour cancellation is also very large, so travel agencies only launch tours for groups,” Tuyen said.
Statistics from the Vietnam Golf Association show that there are more than 50,000 Vietnamese and 20,000 foreigners currently living in Vietnam and playing golf.
The total number of golfers in the country is expected to rise to 300,000 by 2025, with the segment predicted to surpass other famous golf destinations such as Dubai, the US, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia.
While golf tourists to Vietnam are mainly from South Korea, Japan, and a number of Southeast Asian nations, visitors coming to Vietnam to play golf only account for nearly 1 per cent of international arrivals. The figure for Malaysia is 2 per cent and it is 9 per cent for Thailand.
Le Hong Son, CEO of Vina Travel Company said golfers are usually businessmen or officials, accounting for about 70 per cent of golfers today. The remaining 30 per cent are beginners or those looking for opportunities to expand their business relationships through golf.
“Very few golfers can arrange the time to follow the tour company’s schedule as they have to work around their business dealings,” Son said.
In order to deploy a golf tour, related tourism staff must be knowledgeable about this type of tour, but the numbers who actually have a deep interest in the sport are few and far between.
Travel businesses believe that in order to stimulate domestic golf tours, it is necessary to have a separate package at a much lower price than those for golf members, but most course owners hold the view that golfing tourism must be a high-class product, which has a more limited target audience.
“We are thinking that golf is a fashionable sport of the rich with high taxes and higher prices than other countries in the region, but we do not think that this is a sport that needs to receive many incentives,” said Nguyen Van Linh, chairman of the Vietnam Golf Tourism Association.
Linh added that the association wants to expand the number of tournaments being held in Vietnam to attract domestic visitors, cooperate further with golf associations in Japan and South Korea, and choose new tour operators to bring more tourists to this country.
| ||Vietnam – an emerging top destination for golf tourism |
Thanh Mai explores how Vietnam can become a new frontier for golf and the opportunities and challenges that exist in promoting the country’s golf tourism to its full potential.
| ||Bright prospects for Vietnam’s golf tourism |
BRG Group chairwoman Nguyen Thi Nga, honoured in the list of Asia’s most powerful people in golf at the annual Asia Pacific Golf Summit (APGS) in 2018, plays an important role in promoting the development of golf tourism with an optimistic and forward-thinking view of the tourism industry as a whole.