The Growth of Golf In Thailand0
The dramatic growth of Golf tourism in Thailand shows few signs of abating, with Tourism Authority of Thailand forecasts for the current year suggesting that some 3% of total inbound visitors – around 600,000 visitors – will arrive on Thai shores in search of a golfing fix at the Kingdom’s premier golf destinations; Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and Phuket.
With golfers spending on average three times more than their fellow visitors, the boost to the local economy is dramatic, driving the value of inbound golf tourism to Thailand towards the landmark US $2billion mark.
External political factors and natural disasters that have put pressure on the industry in the past, have been removed from the equation, leaving the golf industry free to harvest the fruits of its combined efforts.
And harvest it has. The Kingdom’s leading golf courses have all reported higher year-on-year bookings for 2012 to date and if the trend continues, last year’s golf related tourist arrival figure of 500,000 visitors will be eclipsed by an additional 100,000 visitors, sinking an extra 3 billion Thai baht into the local economy.
“There has been a dramatic improvement (in tourist arrivals),” said Prasertchai Phornprapha, managing director of Siam Country Club, near Thailand’s coastal resort city of Pattaya.
“When there is peace in Thailand it is the destination of choice because of its culture and value for money,” he added before going on to claim that the course has budgeted for 50,000 foreign golfers during the current year, half its total fee-paying guests.
Thailand’s foothold as the premier golf destination in Asia will be further strengthened and the increase in arrivals will bring global market leader Spain – with 100 million golf tourists a year – into sight. Competitive pricing and guaranteed year-round golf are just two of the factors that have extinguished the treats of traditional golf ‘powerhouse’ destinations of the US, Ireland, Australia, England and even the home of golf Scotland.
Nationals from these countries have continued to overlook their home market and head for the warmer climes of Thailand. The strong Aussie dollar has encouraged an influx of Australian visitors during their winter months – coinciding with the local off-peak tourist season – while the faltering European economies has had little impact on visitors from Europe – who favour visits during the November to March high season.
And this pace of growth shows little sign of abating. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Sport, Chumpol Silpa-archa, has targeted to double foreign inbound arrivals in the next 3 years, to reach a figure of 30 million foreign inbound tourists by 2015, with an expected income generation of US $450billion.
A fair slice of this will no doubt find it’s way into the local golf industry.
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