The government seeks to position the Philippines as the next premier destination for golfers, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said as it announced its plan to develop and tap on the multibillion golf tourism industry.
“With our stunning scenery, our favorable climates, our world-class courses, as well as our unique selling proposition, the Philippines can become a premier destination for golfers around the world,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco said at the inaugural Philippine Golf Tourism Summit in Taguig on Tuesday.
Frasco said the DOT is committed to working with both public and private stakeholders to develop the tourism product and attract more foreign travelers to the country.
She pointed out that the global golf tourism market is expected to grow to more than USD41.87 billion by 2030.
“Golf tourism represents a promising frontier for the Philippines, and the summit highlights our proactive approach in understanding, nurturing, listening to the golf tourism industry, and developing this niche as part of our tourism industry portfolio,” she said.
Mike Besa, golf management and marketing consultant at the Ponderosa Golf Club, pointed out that a golf tourist spends “150 percent” of what an average leisure traveler spends daily.
“The potential income that the country and all of us here stand to earn and the trickledown effect on our economy makes this an endeavor worthy of our time and effort,” he said.
To capitalize on this, Besa suggested making tee times available to regular travelers, incentivizing golf courses to improve their infrastructure, and increasing capacity to host more golfers from around the world.
“The rest is about refining the Philippines experience using the abundant gift the country has to offer to make a unique and lasting impression on our guests,” he said.
Philippine Tour Operators’ Association president Fe Abling-Yu said the Philippines should also increase engagement with international events and tournaments.
“The success of integrating golf into the Philippine tourism industry relies on a strategic approach by creating tailor-fit golf packages for both leisure and professional golfers,” she said.
Frasco assured that the DOT would explore all options to develop the market and raise the proposal of incentivizing golf courses before the Department of Finance.
“It is certainly a matter that we would be happy to take up, especially with the Department of Finance as far as the economics, in terms of the benefits that providing incentives can bring to the improvement of golf tourism in the country,” she said.
“This is but the first step in terms of the collaboration between the public and private sector in revisiting government policy, as well as taking a look at how we can make Philippines more attractive golf tourism destination, especially in terms of improving infrastructure.”
Currently, the Philippines has more than 100 golf courses spread across Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao, with the Santa Barbara Golf Course in Iloilo province built in 1907, deemed as the oldest. (PNA)