Asia Pacific Golf Group: Vietnam lined up as the Asia Pacific’s Best Golf Destination
According to Mike Sebastian, chief executive officer of the Asia Pacific Golf Group, the owner of the Asian Golf Awards, Vietnam performed very well in our 2017 Asian Golf Awards online poll and it garnered a lot of support from golfers both in the region and internationally.
The 2017 Asian Golf Awards online poll was conducted over a period of three months from April 1 to June 30. More than 104,000 valid votes were cast and Vietnam was the preferred choice of those who voted.
It is hard to imagine that back in 1930, there was only one golf course and it was located in the highlands of Dalat. The Dalat Palace Golf Club is Vietnam’s oldest and was originally built in 1922 by French architect Ernest Hebrard and was frequented by Vietnam’s first golfer and last emperor, Bao Dai.
With the passage of time, Vietnam has begun a transformation which has spawned the now famous Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail which is a collection of championship courses that run parallel to the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail, that was used as a supply route for the Vietnamese in their war against American troops. It was these courses, built in the early years of the first decade of the New Millennium that caught the attention of international golfers.
Since then, Vietnam today has an excellent collection of some truly world-class golf courses that can be found stretched on a 2,000 mile coastline from Hanoi in the north to Da Nang in the central region and Ho Chi Minh in the south. Because of the frenetic pace of new course development, it is difficult to get an accurate read on the number of courses that are currently open for play in the country.
It is estimated that there are now between 40 courses open for play and a number that are in various stages of construction which should be coming on stream this year and 2018. Whichever way one looks at Vietnam, there is no denying that it is the new frontier for golf. It would be fair to say that there is no place on the Planet that can match the pace of new course construction that is taking place in Vietnam.
All the major golf course architects are actively engaged in some development work and this includes big names like Nicklaus Design, Robert Trent Jones Jr, Greg Norman, Schmidt Curley Design and Ernie Els Design to mention a few.
These branded names have stirred attention amongst golfers in the Asian geography and the two groups of golfers who are making a bee-line for Vietnam are the South Koreans and the Japanese who arguably constitute the largest number of international golfers who frequent the country, not to mention the large expatriate South Korean and Japanese workers in Vietnam.
The domestic population of golfers according to the Vietnam Golf Association is estimated at between 30,000 to 35,000 Vietnamese golfers. Given the pace of new course development in the country and the healthy local economy, indications point to exponential growth in the number of local golfers in the coming years.
Combined with international golfers visiting Vietnam, it would be safe to draw a conclusion that the country is poised for a sustained golf boom. This is also borne out by general tourist arrivals in Vietnam. International tourist arrivals for 2017 is projected to exceed 10 million, more than an increase of 30% over the same period last year. A percentage of this number is undoubtedly coming to the country for a golf experience.
Another indicator that golf tourism is set to grow is tourist expenditure, a good measure for golf course operators. Historical records indicate that Vietnam earned more than US$15 billion in tourism revenue for 2015 and based on preliminary data, the country is on track to earn in excess of US$17 billion for 2017.
Now that Vietnam has been crowned as the top golf tourism draw in the Asia Pacific, it’s going to grab more attention which will automatically convert to better financial returns for the nation’s golf clubs. Vietnam will receive the award officially during the 2017 Asian Golf Awards which will be staged in the city of Da Nang on November 16.
Source: Hanoi Times