Pattaya hosts Asia’s largest golf familiarisation trip

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Over 160 leading golf tour operators supported by 160 Thai caddies recently took part in the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) Cup hosted by Laem Chabang and Burapha Golf Clubs in Pattaya Thailand. 

This event, part of the Asian Golf Tourism Convention 2013, was the largest number of golf tour operators ever to play together in one tournament in Asia.

Golf tour operators and caddies pose for a photo during the recent familiarisation trip.Golf tour operators and caddies pose for a photo during the recent familiarisation trip.

The Eastern Seaboard Golf Management Association (EGA) hosted over 500 delegates from Asia, USA, the Middle East and Europe, at the 2013 Asian Golf Tourism Convention (AGTC), held in Pattaya over a period of seven days.

The AGTC was the biggest and most important golf tourism event held in Asia with golf resorts, golf courses, hotels, inbound operators and tourist boards here to do business with buyers.  IAGTO members account for over 80% of all golfing holidays worldwide, and Thailand is the 5th fastest golfing destination in the world with over 1.5 million golf tourists in 2012.

Pattaya has now become a major golf destination hosting many international tournaments and attracting over 500,000 golfers in 2012.  Several local courses already host major golf tournaments including the Thailand Golf Championship at Amata Springs, the Honda LPGA Thailand Open at Siam Country Club’s Old Course and the Pattaya Open at Burapha Golf Club.

Peter Walton, President for IAGTO was quoted as saying, “AGTC 2013 went beyond our expectations with the host destination of Pattaya putting on a series of spectacular functions, which augmented the 12 hours of tightly-scheduled business appointments.  Our members held over 4,000 meetings between buyers and sellers during AGTC 2013.

“With over 20 courses in the region, Pattaya was an ideal selection to host AGTC this year.  It underlined why it was selected as winner of the Golf Destination of the Year for Asia and Australasia in 2012.  Delegates have had the chance to explore the area and see what it has got to offer besides doing business.  Everyone was very impressed with the variety of clubs, the condition of the courses, the excellent hospitality and not forgetting those wonderful smiling Thai caddies.”

Pattaya Mayor, Ittipol Khunpluem, also commented: “During the convention we managed successfully to showcase our superb golf courses, and entertained all the delegates at numerous functions including gala dinners with traditional entertainment to fun beach parties.  All government sectors including the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau and EGA worked extremely hard to make sure everything ran smoothly, and I am confident AGTC 2013 will impact massively on the number of future golf vacationers in this region and Thailand as a whole.”

Mike Mesommonta, President of the EGA added, “Our members organized over 2,300 rounds of golf for the delegates during the convention.  The tour operators were able to see for themselves some truly excellent courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Gary Player, Robert Trent Jones Jr and Nick Faldo.  This whole event is a dream come true for Thailand as a golf destination.  It has really put Thailand on the map.”

IAGTO Thailand now has over 85 member companies, making it the biggest and most representative trade organization for golf tourism in Thailand.  Pattaya’s golf portal www.playpattaya.com provides full information on the region.