The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is to adopt a high-profile presence at the North America Golf Tourism Convention to be organised by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) between May 18 - 21, 2011, Monterey County, California.
Thailand is the only Asian country to be featured as a major sponsor of this event. With more than 100 buyers of golf tourism expected to participate, TAT plans to make full use of this opportunity to disseminate information about the kingdom’s amazing golf facilities, expand its range of contacts and boost networking with golf operators worldwide.
Mrs Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT Deputy Governor for International Marketing (Europe and the Americas), said, “This year, we have set a strategy to expand quality tourists in the American region by stepping up our promotions of the golf tourism market.
“This is due to the fact that golfers still have high spending power. In times of recurring and unpredictable crisis every week and a highly competitive market, the TAT needs to continue to attract market segments which still have the desire and the means to travel. Golf tourism is one such segment.”
Set up in 1997 with headquarters in London, IAGTO has a membership of 1,600 companies from 82 countries. Its membership has expanded in recent years to include golf resorts, golf courses, hotels, specialist ground handlers, car rental and transportation companies, airlines, tourist boards, media, and a wide range of business partners who provide services for the golf tourism industry.
Late last year, TAT organised a familiarisation trip for 22 golf tour operators, all members of IAGTO, to survey golf courses in Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai.
According to IAGTO, its membership includes 370 golf tour operators from 51 countries who only sell golfing holidays. Of these, 144 companies sell golf tours to Thailand.
Mrs Juthaporn said, “The IAGTO has stressed that Thailand has great potential to expand its profile among the rest of the golfing operators who are not yet selling Thailand. We will work with IAGTO more intensively in the future to find ways to cooperate in promoting the golf market.”
In addition to cooperation with IAGTO, TAT also participated in the PGA Merchandise Show in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, last January. The event was attended by nearly 42,000 PGA professionals and industry executives from 88 countries and nearly every U.S. state.
Two marketing activities targetted at the golf sector are under way in Thailand between 20-29 March. A group of 16 golf industry journalists from the United States, Canada, UK, Italy, Sweden and Denmark have been invited on a fam trip that will take them to some of the popular golf courses of Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai. A group of 10 Teaching Professional Golfers from USA are also visiting Thailand to survey the golf courses and supporting facilities and services, and also get ideas for organising golf holiday packages.
Golfing has become a major component of Thailand’s increasingly diverse tourism product. There are over 200 high standard golf courses nationwide, many of them championship level designed by the world’s top designers; such as, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Jr, and many others. The result is some of the most attractive courses in Asia, with excellent facilities, memorable signature holes and regular maintenance to keep them in top-class condition.
There are at least a few courses in or within easy reach of all major cites. Most of the newer courses offer accommodation on site or nearby, plus recreational facilities for the whole family. For the more adventurous, there are older, natural courses in remote areas around the country, all offering good value.
So for golfers who not only appreciate a challenging course, but an exotically different one too, there is an extraordinary choice.