Vietnam golf tourism big draw post Covid

 Vietnam golf tourism big draw post Covid

A tourist plays at a golf course in the central province of Quang Nam in 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Phong Vinh

Golf tourism with high safety levels and low contact will lure more high-spending foreign tourists to Vietnam after the Covid pandemic, a top tourism official said.

Ha Van Sieu, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said golf tourism contributed to the overall success of Vietnam's travel industry in 2019 as the country welcomed a record 18 million foreign visitors.

"After the pandemic is brought under control, the demand for foreign visitors, especially high-spenders to Vietnam to play golf would be even greater because this tourism product has a high safety level and low contact with limited crowds," Sieu said at a seminar on golf tourism held in Quang Ninh Province on Tuesday.

He said in recent years, the number of golf tourists had been increasing and the country should focus on developing this sector in the new normal period.

Nguyen Van Linh, chairman of Vietnam Golf Tourism Association, affirmed Vietnam has a lot of potential for golf tourism development in terms of favorable geographical location and infrastructure.

The country has about 100 golf courses in operation. Of which, 32 meet international 5-star standards and are located along the 6,000-kilometer coastal route, adjacent to luxury resorts.

In the past two years, despite the severe impacts of the pandemic on tourism, many new golf courses have been opened in Quang Ninh and Vinh Phuc in northern Vietnam, and Ha Tinh and Binh Thuan in the central region.

Big potential

Among 204 South Korean visitors to Phu Quoc Island last weekend, 30 were golfers.

Tourism experts said Vietnam should grasp the opportunity to promote the development of golf tourism and lure more high-spending golfers as the country reopened international tourism after nearly two years of closure.

However, representatives of some travel companies said there are no clear policies to create favorable conditions for the tourism product at present.

In addition, no travel firms have launched package golf tours for foreign tourists while in Thailand and Malaysia golf tours with reasonable prices abound.

Linh said it is necessary to develop products that focus on the domestic market first because of the great demand since the country currently has over 100,000 golfers.

The association will continue to organize a number of tournaments in Vietnam to attract domestic players, Linh added.

"Vietnam has enough potential to attract 60 million golfers while the number of domestic players has been increasing," said Le Hung Nam, general secretary of the Golf Association.

Vietnam was named the World's Best Golf Destination 2021 at the eighth annual World Golf Awards. It is the second year the country has been honored with the title.

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