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Asia’s largest inbound tour operator, Golfasian, is utilising strength in diversity to take Thailand’s golf industry to a higher level. The pandemic has been devastating for the golf tourism industry in Thailand. But while most companies are in survival mode, Golfasian is utilising strength in numbers to ensure that it emerges intact and enhanced from the global crisis.
Talking about how will golf travel change in the post-Covid world, Mark Siegel, founder and chairman of Golfasian said: “Golf travel will gradually pick up in the second half of 2021 as the world’s population gets vaccinated and each country comes to grips with the situation and declares Covid-19 endemic. At first, shorter trips will become more common, but soon after that, demand for travel to previously more popular countries that offer complete 24-hour experiences will rapidly pick up.”
According to the chairman, Thailand is well-positioned to capitalise on the market rebound. With many new attractions opened during the last two years, Vietnam will also attract many golfers in the post-pandemic times. Other Asian countries may find golf travel a struggle due to lack of a complete experience and aging golf courses.
Regarding the new trends in the golf tourism vertical, Siegel believes stay-and-play packages at professional golf tour destinations and off-the-beaten-track facilities with uber-high levels of service and privacy will take off. “An example of the former is Black Mountain in Hua Hin. Together with Golfasian, it has achieved European Tour Destination status. The latter includes Aquella in Khao Lak, where 6-star facilities dominate the new 2021 entry on the Asian golf scene,” he informed.
To take Thailand’s golf industry to a higher level in the post-Covid world, it is adding new services, programmes and industry-leading packages into its product portfolio.
“We implemented a unique ambassador programme for the top 1% of our clients, including free travel and stipends. Also, all groups now get a private website/app to track, document, record, and their holidays and golf rounds. This digital tool is excellent for groups of 8-20 golfers who want to be in constant contact before, during, and after their trips. Finally, we continue to offer the best-valued golf packages, including hotel room upgrades, preferred tees times, and VIP luxury transportation – surpassing other suppliers and online travel agents,” he said.
Since its establishment back in 1997, the company has helped cement Thailand’s reputation as a must-visit destination for golf. Going forward, Golfasian plans to expand into new countries and become more vertically integrated into the golf and travel space. There are new golf and real estate projects under evaluation with the announcement of details by year end. Country representatives in our primary source markets will be in place for the 2022 travel season. Additionally, new golf tournaments and international-hosted escorted tours would get added to our product portfolio as travel returns.
The Bangkok-based company also recently acquired FORE Management Group, a respected organiser of golf events in Thailand. Its formidable track record includes the Thailand Open (an Asian Tour event), the World Corporate Golf Challenge, and the Thailand instalment of the Faldo Series: the only global amateur series for juniors.
The company has also forged a strategic partnership with FENIX XCell, one of the region’s most creative names in golf apparel.
“Together the companies will create the strongest brands in the Asia golf industry, particularly related to golf travel, golf events, and golf apparel,” Siegel added.
The new status will facilitate additional vertical integration and allow the companies to offer a broader range of products and services for golfers and international partners. Since its founding in 2016, FORE Management Group has established itself as the go-to firm in Thailand for professionally run, fun golf tournaments — organising over 70 events per year.
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