Pattaya, Thailand: With more than 240 manicured courses, outstanding caddies and excellent value for money, Thailand remains one of the world’s prime golfing getaways.
Following the well-trodden path of their predecessors, today’s golfing tourists continue to make a bee-line for the Kingdom’s established destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Phuket.
In a new twist to its envied golf marketing campaigns, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the driving force behind promoting the country and growing the number of inbound visitors, is focusing on a new emphasis.
While the tried and trusted locations will retain their lustre, the TAT believes the time is right for golfing tourists to broaden their horizons when visiting the Land of a Thousand Smiles.
“We have some wonderful hidden gem golf courses around the country,” said Kittipong Prapattong, the TAT’s Director of Asean, South Asia and South Pacific Market Division.
Speaking at a media briefing during the 2016 Thailand Golf Travel Mart, Kittipong said the time was right to showcase a handful of the country’s less well-known golf courses and cities.
Entitled Hidden Gems, Kittipong’s presentation highlighted more than half-a-dozen venues off the beaten track.
Among the courses that he recommended were Lamphun’s Gassan Khuntan Golf and Resort; Mae Moh Golf Course in Lampang; Panurangsri Golf Club in Ratchaburi; Soi Dao Highland Golf Course in Chanthaburi and Surat Thani’s Rajjaprabra Dam Golf Course.
Kittipong described the courses as being located in ‘second and third tier cities in Thailand’.
“We would like golf tourists to Thailand to try out these courses and explore these cities,” said Kittipong, adding that all had the infrastructure and amenities to cater to golfing visitors.
Addressing tour operators, Kittipong said he would like ‘to encourage agents to come up with attractive packages’ to the second and third tier cities, explaining that more tourist arrivals would help to ‘generate revenues to these local communities’.
Other presenters at the media briefing were Kullatorn ‘Mike’ Meesommont, Managing Director of Burapha Golf & Resort and Chairman of the East Coast Golf Courses Management Association, and Jon Tomlinson, Senior Director of Operations at IMG Golf Course Management, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.