Sultanate urged to promote golf tourism

National 2 minutes, 4 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI should take advantage of its low golf course rates to attract more tourists.

Yeong Hyeon Hwang, professor of international tourism at Dong-A University in South Korea, said that Brunei can tap into the golf tourism market as it’s relatively cheaper to play golf in the Sultanate compared to other countries.

“For tourists, the first thing they think is price competitiveness. Prices in Brunei may be relatively expensive compared to other (neighbouring) countries, but for playing golf it (Brunei) is less expensive than most,” Hwang told The Brunei Times.

Hwang was in Brunei to speak at the two-day ASEAN Tourism Human Resource Development Programme organised by the ASEAN-Korea Centre.

In an interview held yesterday at the sidelines of the workshop, Hwang said that the average cost to play golf in South Korea is about US$250 ($312) for a single play per person. This fee doesn’t include other additional fees such as cart usage. On the other hand, the Empire Hotel and Country Club only charges $220 per person, according to a customer representative.

“The opportunity lies in the fact that there are 2.7 million golfers in South Korea and many of them have heard about the golf course at the Empire Hotel and Country Club,” he said.

He also said that the number of golfers is also expected to increase and that Brunei should remain available and ready for an influx of golf tourists from South Korea.

In a 2012 report, Mohd Riza Dato Paduka Hj Yunos, who was then the deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, urged Brunei’s tourism stakeholders to devise strategies for the development and promotion of golf tourism in the country.

In his speech during the Asia Pacific Golf Summit 2012, Mohd Riza said that Brunei should stay competitive with its golf offerings and make it a part of its tourism development programme. He also called on industry players to know the “ins and outs” of the industry.

He said that golf represents the largest sports-related travel market in the world as golfers are willing to travel a great distance just to experience playing golf in a different course.

According to him, golf tourism is valued at US$20 billion with over 50 million golf tourists travelling the world to play on an estimated 32,000 courses. The Empire Hotel and Country Club, Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club, Mentiri Golf Club and Royal Brunei Airlines Golf Club are among the estimated 40 golf courses in Borneo.

The Brunei Times