Golf could boost Vietnam’s tourism industry recovery

HANOI (Vietnam / Asia News Network): As Vietnam begins to tentatively welcome international tourists to its shores, an increased focus on golf tourism could give a much-needed boost to the besieged tourism industry after nearly two years of Covid-19 restrictions.

While Vietnam has officially welcomed the first international tourists, in the first phase, the overall customer experience will be limited. The question is; what can Vietnam do to attract more foreign tourists?

More importantly, how do we convince them to spend more, thereby contributing to the tourism industry which has been so badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Golf tourism could be the answer. Vietnam has many advantages that could help take golf tourism in the country to the next level, despite being an emerging part of the Vietnamese tourism market.

Hà Văn Siêu, vice president of Vietnam’s National Tourism Administration, said that now the country has decided to live with the pandemic, the tourism industry must find ways to open up and attract visitors. international. Golf tourism has experienced strong growth in recent years and Vietnam has always been regarded as one of the top golfing destinations in Asia.

“Golf tourism around the world has become a market that generates high income, creating jobs and opportunities for destinations around the world, including Vietnam. It is a good opportunity for Vietnamese tourism to promote the image of an attractive and safe destination, ready to welcome tourists again in the context of the new normal.

Vietnam is considered to be one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. The great potential of golf tourism is obvious and has been recognized by international tourists, according to Siêu.

Before the pandemic, people working in the tourism industry recognized the trend and took steps to prepare for and invest in golf courses. In 2019, golf tourism largely contributed to the overall success of tourism in Việt Nam.

“Golf will attract chic and eco-friendly guests in the post-pandemic period. We need to promote and secure big investments in golf tourism, as it will be seen as a safe type of tourism that avoids large crowds, ”he added.

Vietnam was named both the top golf destination in Asia and the world for 2021 at the eighth annual World Golf Awards held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

This is the second year that Vietnam has been honored with the world title and the fifth consecutive year that the country has won the Asian title since 2017.

Despite the impact of Covid-19, a record number of votes have been collected this year.

The World Golf Awards celebrate and reward excellence in golf tourism through an annual awards program, as part of the World Travel Awards.

Vietnam’s National Tourism Administration was honored as Asia’s premier tourism board 2021 at the 28th World Travel Awards, after receiving the title for the first time in 2017.

The WTA also honored Vietnam as Asia’s # 1 sustainable tourism destination, and Há»™i An was named Asia’s # 1 cultural destination. Hạ Long Bay has been awarded the title of Asia’s Main Tourist Attraction, and Cúc PhÆ°Æ¡ng National Park has been named Asia’s Main National Park.

These are excellent conditions for Vietnam to attract new developments in golf tourism. In recent years, golf courses in Vietnam have developed in association with upscale and luxurious resorts along the coastlines, ideal conditions to attract tourists.

Of the first 200 international visitors who came to Phú Quốc, 30 came just to play golf. This is a fairly high rate which proves the trend of golf tourism in the foreign market.

“The demand from international visitors for golf tourism is undeniable. Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan have all focused on attracting this market. “

Thailand has built a brand and has become a favorite destination for golfers from South Korea, Europe and America. Each year, Thailand’s golf tourism revenue amounts to tens of billions of dollars, contributing around 9 percent of the country’s GDP.

“We need to prepare a new mindset in the tourism sector to adapt safely and without fear. We believe that national and international tourism will reopen in the near future, with a safe route.

“People will be more confident in carrying out tourist activities. In the future, golf tourism in Vietnam will grow, helping to attract tourists to Vietnam and revive the tourism industry after the Covid-19 pandemic, ”he said.

Nguyá»…n Văn Linh, President of the Vietnam Golf Tourism Association, agrees that Vietnam has many advantages that should be exploited for the development of golf tourism, including favorable geographical position, cultural and human potential, diversity of the kitchen and the potential for greater golf course infrastructure. . Vietnam’s golf courses have a modern design, with luxurious and upscale service facilities that meet international quality standards.

“Compared to a few years ago, the number of golfers in Vietnam has increased significantly. With the current potential and demand, Vietnam must have a plan to develop these products and services, making Vietnam a bright spot for golf tourism in the world, ”Linh said.

Vietnam is trying to attract this group of tourists, although the numbers are not that high right now. According to VNAT statistics, in 2018, out of more than 15 million international visitors to Vietnam, less than one percent played golf. Those who did were mainly guests from South Korea, Japan and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Phạm Duy Nghĩa, Director of Vietfoot Travel, said: “Vietnam has 32 five-star golf courses of international standards and 6,000 kilometers of coastline. We must take this opportunity to catch up with Thailand and Malaysia.

“However, I realize that Vietnam does not yet have policies to facilitate the development of professional golf. In addition, no units are involved in opening package tours for tourists from South Korea and Japan. Thailand and Malaysia have good package tours, thanks to the involvement of the government, the hotel supply system, the restaurant and the travel agency. “

Sharing his ideas, Đỗ Việt Hùng, deputy general manager of FLC, said the management agency should consider and support companies to create more favorable conditions for international visitors.

“We believe Vietnam should allow shorter golf packages of four days and three nights instead of the current seven days. In addition, we also need to adjust the price of golf tours competitively, relative to the general level of Southeast Asia, ”he said. noted.

He also suggested rethinking the circuits to attract international tourists. For example, the northeastern province of Quảng Ninh is currently one of five locations eligible to host international guests. The province has the advantage of having three golf courses and world famous monuments.

To retain international guests during their seven-day stay, Quảng Ninh could combine a round of golf and a cruise to visit the bay. This could be a solution to the problem of retaining international customers.

According to estimates from the Vietnam Golf Association, there are around 60 million people around the world who play golf. It is an attractive market for Vietnam. On the other hand, the number of golfers in Vietnam is small, at around 100,000, but this number is expected to increase.

The system of around 100 golf courses across the country has also been well invested. Quảng Ninh Province is one of the country’s leading golfing destinations with a world-class course system.

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