|Golf has the potential to be a key pillar in the country’s tourism industry
Golf tourism is considered a niche market with strong growth, bringing high revenue and creating job opportunities for people worldwide, according to the World Golf Tourism Organization.
Having a tropical climate with warm weather all year round, a long coastline with many majestic beaches, and a unique culture, Vietnam is considered one of the best destinations for the sport, appealing to golfers at all levels.
The development of the golf industry has led to an increase in golf groups coming to Vietnam from all over the world, often businessmen with demands to stay for a long time and try new golf courses.
Vietnam is also located in the centre of Asia, where golf tourism has a large growth potential. A total of 149 golf courses are being built or preparing for construction in Vietnam, accounting for 28 per cent of the courses being implemented all around the world.
The opportunity for golf tours increasing every year. Currently, more than 50,000 Vietnamese and 20,000 foreigners living in Vietnam play golf. The total figure is expected to increase exponentially over the next few years.
Golf tourism is becoming more professional. In 2017, famed golfer, designer, philanthropist, and golf goodwill ambassador, Greg Norman appeared in a promotional video and said, “People often come to Vietnam for the scenery, culture and food. I came here for all of that, but more than that, to play at one of the best golf courses in the world.”
It was around this time that followers of this elite sport understood that Vietnam’s golf tourism had transformed. Further proof can be seen at the World Golf Awards where Vietnam was honoured as “the world’s best golf destination” in 2019 and 2021. It was also honoured as “Asia’s Best Golf Destination” for five consecutive awards from 2017.
Continuously being rated as the best golf destination in Asia has given Vietnam’s many advantages to engage followers of the sport.
Norman has said that although they are behind compared to Thailand and Malaysia, Vietnamese golf courses have many advantages because they are beautiful, new, and diverse in terrain, often designed by the world’s top golfers. Many of the country’s top courses match those in Japan and can operate all year round, instead of having to close in winter.
Moreover, the legendary golfer said that the quality of golf courses in Vietnam was improving with well-invested, large-scale projects to serve the 5-star needs of wealthy customers.
To achieve this, it is impossible not to mention the investment of large investors, such as BRG Group – a pioneer in the field. Investing in golf since the 2000s, BRG Group advocates for cooperation with the world’s golf “giants” to quickly shorten the gap between Vietnamese and global golf.
Currently, BRG Group owns and operates seven golf courses with 127 world-class golf holes.
BRG Danang Golf Resort was honoured by Golf Digest Magazine as in the Top 100 best golf courses in the world in 2022 and became the host of the Asian golf tournament “BRG Open Golf Championship Danang 2022.”
BRG’s golf courses include Dong Mo Golf Course - BRG King’s Island Golf Resort; Soc Son Golf Course - Legend Hill Golf Resort; Do Son Golf Course – BRG Ruby Tree Golf Resort; The Golf Academy - BRG Golf Centre and BRG Danang golf course. They are all built in a unique style, taking full advantage of the terrain and natural beauty of each region and always ensuring quality according to international standards.
According to the director of the Institute of Sports Sciences Department of Sports and Physical Training Tran Hieu, Vietnam currently has about 100,000 golfers and 100 golf courses. Among them, there are 60 18-hole golf courses in operation, attached to luxury resorts. It is expected that by 2025 there will be 200 18-hole golf courses.
The Vietnam Golf Tourism Association shows that in the first two months of 2023, there were 800,000 golfers out of a total of 1.8 million international tourists coming to Vietnam. The average spending for a five-day golf tour is $1,700, excluding airfare. Meanwhile, the average spending for normal international tourists in Vietnam is $130 per day only.
Sports Marketing Survey’s report has indicated that the purchasing power of golfing tourists is six to eight times higher than that of other types of tourism, and their spending level is expected to continue to increase. About half of golfers in the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea said they will spend more on golf in the next year.
Vu The Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, said, “Over and above the potential, investing in developing golf tourism is also a way for Vietnamese tourism to improve service quality, diversify products, increase competitiveness and attract tourists with high ability to pay and stay for a long time.”
“However, to explore fully the potential of golf tourism, it needs a long-term and comprehensive policy for the golf business. In addition, the business community in the golf sector also needs to link with each other to create an ecosystem to promote the golf sector to become a strength of the country’s tourism industry.”
Experts seen golf tourism as a solution to boost revenue for the country’s economy as golf tourists not only play golf but also use high-end meeting facilities, accommodation, lodging and catering services. Golfers to Vietnam often include in their trip a wide range of activities as MICE, leisure, and cultural exchanges as well.
Accordingly, investing in golf tourism will help Vietnam improve service quality, diversify products, raise competitiveness, and attract more high-spending and long-stay tourists.
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