Vietnam must take advantage of high-end potential

October 23, 2023 | 09:23
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Golf tourism is being strongly considered a treasure that can encourage high-spending tourists to stay longer in Vietnam and return.

Despite economic challenges in recent years, many new golf courses associated with beach resorts have been opened in many localities across Vietnam. The localities reporting the golf’s strongest development this year are Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, Quang Ninh, Danang, Vung Tau, Dong Nai, and Binh Duong.

It is expected that by 2025, 200 18-hole golf courses will be taken into operation. At present, each province is planning to build 10-15 golf courses. In some provinces, there are 30-50 projects each province is in the legal completion period.

Vietnam must take advantage of high-end potential
Vietnam must take advantage of high-end potential, photo

Businesses participating in golf development are all large-scale firms. BRG Group is a typical example - investing in golf since the 2000s, BRG Group has advocated cooperation with giants in the world of golf to quickly shorten the gap between Vietnamese and global offerings.

Currently, BRG Group owns and operates seven golf courses. Two decades ago, BRG Group acquired Dong Mo golf course, now Kings Island Golf Resort. This is considered an important milestone in the domestic market when golf was an entirely new field.

At this time, Nguyen Thi Nga, founder and chairwoman of BRG Group, also admitted that she had not known anything about golf prior to this time.

But the businesswoman realised that golf has high potential for business because gold fans are passionate and there is no fear of such a service becoming stagnant.

Along with BRG, large corporations and businesses are also making efforts to invest in golf courses methodically, on a large scale, with the true quality of a golf resort, to serve the demand of 5-star and even 6-star resorts of upscale customers.

As a result, the World Golf Awards honoured Vietnam as the World’s Best Golf Destination in 2019, 2021, 2022, and as Asia’s Best Golf Destination since 2017.

“Unlike traditional tourists, golfers often come back to the same golf courses many times. Along with golfing fees, they also pay for high-class hotel and restaurant services,” said Dr. Ha Van Sieu, deputy director of the Vietnam National Tourism Administration.

“Therefore, developing golf tourism not only helps diversify products and enhance competitiveness, but also attracts targeted tourists who have high spending ability and long-term stays, simultaneously stimulating the high-end resort segment.”

Thanks to golf development, Vietnam is becoming a preferred destination for world-class luxury tour and service providers, such as TCS World Travel. Two among nine new itineraries departing in 2023 of this company have stops in Vietnam and are all among the most expensive tours.

Of the nine tours organised by TCS World Travel, the lowest price is $50,000 per person, and the highest price is $149,000 per person.

Golf tourism is considered a niche market with strong growth, bringing in huge revenues and creating job opportunities for people in destinations around the world.

According to statistics from the International Golf Tourism Organization, its current 61 member countries have 638 golf tourism companies, which control 87 per cent of the global golf market, generating an annual revenue of $2.5 billion with the participation of about 1.9 million golfers who regularly travel to golf courses. Golf tourism is ranked third in terms of travel motivation.

If 10 years ago, the revenue from the golf industry was only about $50 million, now this number is up to over $1 billion and is expected to reach $3 billion by 2030.

In Vietnam, King Bao Dai brought golf to Vietnam for the first time in 1930 with the construction of the first golf course in Dalat, now renamed Dalat Palace Golf Club. But it was not until the 1990s that golf became more renowned among Vietnamese people.

Despite starting late, Vietnam ramped up quickly. According to the General Department of Physical Training and Sports under the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the country has 80 golf courses of 18 holes in operation, 32 of which meet international 5-star standards.

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