Vietnam’s burgeoning inbound golf tourism sector was thrust into the spotlight once more at last week’s Club Management Mini Summit.
Growing Golf Tourism was the main topic of discussion at the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF)-organised event at Hanoi’s Diamond Westlake Suites.
Sponsored by Jebsen & Jessen, the event was attended by a mixture of club managers and industry professionals.
The three main speakers were Mark Siegel, Owner and Managing Director of Golfasian, one of Asia’s most prominent golf tour companies, Nguyễn Xuân Bình, Deputy Director, Danang Tourism Department, and Ben Styles, Vice President of Golf and Residential Development – Hoiana Shores Golf Club.
The trio also featured prominently in a similar Club Management Mini Summit in Ho Chi Minh City in May.
Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Following a very successful Mini Summit on Growing Golf Tourism in Vietnam in Ho Chih Minh earlier in the year, the AGIF was delighted for the discussion to continue in Hanoi.
“Nguyễn Xuân Bình, Mark and Ben came together again to provide further input and guidance to those involved in the Vietnamese golf industry.”
According to Siegel, who founded Golf Coast Vietnam, a destination marketing organisation which promotes Vietnam’s best golf courses to the world, Vietnam golf tourism currently accounts for 0.5% of inbound tourism, compared to 2% in Thailand. In 2016, that equated to 50,000 golfing tourists to Vietnam compared to 650,000 to Thailand.
Siegel said: “We could well see the number of golfing tourists to Vietnam increase threefold to 150,000 (1.5% of all tourists to the country) by 2020. On the basis that the average spend per day of golfing tourists is US$501 (compared to US$167 for general tourists), there’s every chance that total spend will top US$1 billion within the next two years.”
Binh said: “With the collective effort and resources of golf and tourism stakeholders, especially with a flagship role from the Government presenting the destination, golf tourism Vietnam is about to boom.”
Styles concurred. He said: “It’s an exciting time for Vietnam golf tourism. I’ve witnessed the growth now over the past 10 years and I believe Vietnam will only go from strength to strength.”
There are currently 32 golf courses open for play in Vietnam while another 60 are under construction or in the planning stage.
Lynge said: “Vietnam continues to be one of the most active areas in the world for new golf course development with much of the growth centred in cities such as Danang, Hoi An, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
“The expansion, which has the support of the Government, is aimed at promoting golf for the domestic market with an additional focus on international tourism.”