Pattaya gets prepared for Asia’s largest golf tourism convention
The International Association of Golf Tour Operators will welcome from April 29 to May 2 golf tour operators from the entire world for its 2nd Asia Golf Tourism Convention at the Royal Cliff Hotel and PEACH Convention Centre in Pattaya.
In just over two months’ time, IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) will stage the largest ever golf tourism convention to take place in the Asia-Pacific region, in Pattaya. IAGTO’s 2nd Asia Golf Tourism Convention (AGTC) will take place at the Royal Cliff Hotel and PEACH Convention Centre from 29 April to 2 May 2013. IAGTO’s president, Peter Walton, announced the event during a press conference in Bangkok where he unveiled that already 142 golf tour operators from 36 countries had confirmed their attendance.
Registered buyers are coming from China, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Australia, Europe, North America and from as far afield as South Africa, Argentina and Brazil.
Walton said: “With more than 150 accredited buyers expected to attend, all promoting and selling golf destinations in Asia, this is without doubt a great opportunity for Thai hotels, golf resorts, golf courses and regional golf destinations around the country to meet, discuss and do business for the coming season. Already 45 Thai golf tourism suppliers have signed up to attend and we currentlyhave capacity for 60 in total out of a total of 180 supplier companies from 18 countries in the Asia Pacific region. A total of 500 delegates are expected to attend AGTC this year.”
Established in 1997, IAGTO is the global trade organisation of the golf tourism industry, and its Thailand division already has 70 member companies, making it a truly representative body for Thailand’s golf tourism industry. All Thai companies attending the AGTC for the first time are automatically provided with IAGTO membership for 2013.
Peter Walton added: “IAGTO works 365 days a year to support and provide services for its members. We expect our Thailand division to soon increase to over 100 company members.”
Commenting on the benefits that golf tourism brings to Thailand, Walton said: “On average, golf travellers spend 120% more per person per day in destination than general leisure travellers. This is more than double and therefore golf travel is without doubt High Revenue-Low Impact tourism sector. With over 60 million golfers worldwide and some 25% of regular golfers take a golf holiday each year, golf travellers are influential in other sectors of the economy including Luxury Travel, Meetings & Incentive Events and Real Estate sales.” He then added: “So golf tourism is much more than a niche market for Thailand.”
Walton considers Thailand as the true “hub” of the golf tourism business within the future ASEAN Economic Community: “All countries of AEC are important golf destinations and golf markets, and within this region Thailand is the leader in terms of golf tourism. Having AGTC in Thailand represents then a pivotal event for the countries of the ASEAN region.”
The choice of Pattaya is of course due to the easy access of the resort area from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Generally it just takes slightly over an hour to reach Pattaya city. It is also due to the high number of accommodation available. Pattaya received in 2011 close to 7.9 million of travellers including six million from abroad. Pattaya had 322 accommodation units in 2011, representing a total of 178,500 rooms with an average occupancy of 60%.
“We continue to promote Pattaya as a sport but also a family-oriented destination. Pattaya plays host to many international sport events such as golf tournament, tennis or marathon. Over the last few years, many new luxury themed resorts have opened their doors, providing an excellent and safe environment for travellers wishing to spend a family-oriented holiday”, explained Juttaporn Rerngronasa, Deputy Governor for Overseas markets including Europe at the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
What about the safety of delegates coming to Pattaya as the city made a lot headlines following a wave of violent incidents in the last few months, involving visitors? “We take very seriously this issue. Security is our number one priority and we do all we can to be sure that all visitors feel safe. We have additional police forces, hired more volunteer police helpers. We are in the process to install an additional 1,150 CCTV units all across the resort. And during a convention, we ask extra police forces to take care of delegates, briefing also transportation companies,” stated Pattaya Mayor Itthipol Kunplome. “I can confirm that Pattaya is safe.We never experienced any trouble when organizing an event. And I have been living here for over 20 years”, confirmed Callum Mackie, Marketing Director of Play Pattaya, a golf tour operator.
Table – Top markets to Pattaya in 2011 (registered guests in commercial accommodations)
|Russia||2 204 459|
|Thailand||1 867 368|
|United Kingdom||167 225|
|Grand Total||7 879 039|
|Foreigners||6 011 671|
(Source: Thailand Ministry of Tourism)