“After the pandemic, there is a rising demand in golf tourism as it has become a safe way to travel and entertain. Moreover, it attracts high spending visitors,” stated Ha Van Sieu, vice chairman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, adding that golf tourism brings an opportunity to restructure the industry and renew the sector with high-value products.
It is estimated there are around 30 golf courses of international 5-star standards in Vietnam.
|Vietnam’s Golf sector creating new impetus for tourism |
Currently, South Korea is the world’s third-largest golf market with around 3 million active players, after the US with 28.8 million players, and Japan with 10 million players. Coincidently, South Korean visitors made up the largest group of international visitors to Vietnam since the reopening of tourism early this year. Among them, many are golfers.
Do Chi Cong, CEO of SB Invest and a member of EuroCham said, “Looking at the number of international golf tourists, we can be certain that Vietnam’s golf tourism has great advantages in attracting high-spending golfers from the US, Europe, and Eastern Asia.”
Vietnamese golf courses’ popularity has been asserted through a number of international awards and the world’s best golf advocates. At the last World Golf Awards in Dubai, Vietnam picked up trophies for both Asia’s Best Golf Destination and World’s Best Golf Destination, whilst Danang’s Ba Na Hills Golf Club was named Asia’s Best Golf Course.
Golf legend Greg Norman said, “Vietnam is one of Asia’s best new golf destinations, and its variety of top-notch courses will leave you breathless.” The global golf icon served as Vietnam’s Tourism Ambassador, and in partnership with Greg Norman Golf Course Design, as an advisor to create and promote sustainable golf course tourism and development practices in the country.
The first signature link courses Norman designed in Vietnam, the Dunes at BRG Danang Golf Resort, the Bluffs at Ho Tram, and KN Golf Links Cam Ranh, put Vietnam on the world’s premier golf destinations map.
In Hanoi and Danang, legendary Jack Nicklaus also had his hand in designing BRG Legend Hill Golf Resort, The Kings Course at BRG Kings Island Golf Resort, and The Nicklaus Course at BRG Danang Golf Resort. Sergio Garcia called The Bluffs in Ho Tram “spectacular” after winning an Asian Tour event there in 2015.
Despite increasing international recognition, Vietnam’s golf tourism has a long way to reach its potential. The number of international tourists coming to play golf in Vietnam only accounted for 1 per cent, compared with 9 per cent in Thailand.
Pham Duy Nghia, CEO of Vietfoot Travel company said, “Vietnam has only a few travel companies dedicated to golfers. Meanwhile, subsidised golf tour packages in Thailand or Malaysia are plentiful.” Nghia added that the government’s support policies for golf tourism and better cooperation between hotels, golf clubs, travel agents, and promoters are much needed.
“Golf travellers don’t just come to play golf, their family members also want to enjoy services, explore the culture, and create memories,” Nghia said. “The added services and experience can also help other sectors to develop and boost revenue.”
Currently, the main driver of Vietnam’s golf tourism is the number of domestic players. This has increased almost four-fold, from around 26,000 in 2019-2020 to 51,000 in 2021, and around 100,000 this year.
| ||Golf set to drive tourism recovery |
Having been voted Asia’s top golfing destination for five consecutive years, Vietnam possesses a lot of potential for the development of golf tourism.
| ||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.
| ||Golf course real estate setting trends |
The openness in policies, the explosion in the number of golfers, and the trend of resorting and enjoying high-class services have created an impetus for golf real estate to develop rapidly and become an investment channel for the market.