Golf tourism on Phu Quoc Island: The ‘golden egg’ of the green economy
Golf tourism, wellness tourism, and wedding tourism have a lot of potential for development in Vietnam.
At the end of November 2021, the first international visitors came to Phu Quoc after nearly two years during which the island was closed because of Covid-19.
During the 4-day stay at the Phu Quoc United Center, the visitors registered 240 golf sessions to satisfy their special passion for the sport.
Unlike normal tourists, golf tourists often return many times. In addition to the fee to play golf, they pay for high-end hotel and restaurant services.
This kind of tourism meets safety criteria, ensures distance, and avoids large crowds. This is why many countries identify golf tourism as the "golden egg" of the green economy.
Ha Van Sieu, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said that Vietnam's tourism industry is considered a "rising star" in Asia. For five consecutive years, Vietnam has been honored as the best golf destination in Asia, and in 2021 was rated as the best golf destination in the world. In the context of safe tourism, golf tourism is one of the answers.
After many years of development, Vietnam now has a 5-star golf course system serving international guests.
According to Greg Norman, a professional golfer, Vietnam is entering a stage of golf development with strong investment in luxury tourism infrastructure. Golf tourism in Vietnam is competitive with other countries in the region and attracts a stream of golfers with the ability to pay 6 times more than than ordinary international visitors.
Another prominent trend is wellness tourism. The Covid pandemic has made people more aware of the importance of physical health and mental health. Travelers seek rest after a long period of uncertainty and stress.
At the Arabian Travel Mart travel fair, which took place in Dubai recently, senior leader of Accor Group Emlyn Brown revealed that in 2019, more than 80% of luxury travelers pay special attention to daily health care.
According to a report of Global Wellness Institute 2017, Vietnam is among the top 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region for wellness tourism, along with countries that have extensive experience in organizing this type of tourism such as China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.
The payment for wellness tourism in Vietnam (both international and domestic) is about 1.5 times higher than that of traditional tourism.
Weddings for the super-rich
Wedding tourism can also be a decisive factor to help Vietnam emerge as an international destination. The tourism form also brings great benefits to the economy and the local community.
Some Indian billionaires have chosen Vietnam to organize weddings. In 2019, two weddings were held in Vietnam, including one on Phu Quoc Island.
According to the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), amid Covid-19, Indians held 1.2 million weddings in 2020, compared to 2.1 million weddings in 2019. They will continue to hold weddings abroad.
Vietnam is also a destination for many 5-star international cruise ships. According to a study by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Vietnam ranks fourth in Asia in the number of cruise ships visiting, after Japan, China and Thailand.
For example, the "Serenade of the Seas", an important member of the RCCL fleet since 2003, with the price for a full trip ranging from 66,000 to 112,000 USD/person, plus income fees and charges, plans to depart from Miami (USA) in late 2023. It will call at two destinations in Vietnam, Nha Trang (April 21, 2024) and Ho Chi Minh City (April 22, 2024).
Ready to welcome international visitors
Experts say the high-end segment is expected to have the fastest recovery. Due to the stagnation of international tourism activities in the past two years, customers with high budgets are paying more attention to international-standard luxury resorts and hotels. They still have enough resources to maintain resort and tourism activities despite the impact of the pandemic. However, in order to serve this group of customers well, hotels need to pay more attention to suitable products and services.
In particular, the majority of high-end guests have stricter requirements on safety, hygiene, privacy and comfort standards as well as experiences they receive when using services at luxury hotels and resorts.
In the long term, for the “golf economy” to develop to its full potential, Nguyen Huu Thuy, Chairman of Quang Ninh Golf Association, said it is necessary to have golf tour prices suitable to Southeast Asia; additional services beyond the golf experience; a one-stop mechanism to solve all golf tour problems; high service quality (human resources, infrastructure), and agencies to assist tourists in legal and procedural matters; and international golf tournaments.
In a survey conducted by HoSkar Night, more than 72% of respondents said the Vietnamese resort industry needs more health-focused resort projects. This has a lot of potential for development in Vietnam.
At the recent meeting of the Government to assess the situation during Lunar New Year and the implementation of key tasks after Lunar New Year, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh requested to open safe tourism as soon as possible.
Thirty out of 200 foreign travelers came to Phu Quoc to play golf, which shows the great potential of golf.
About 350,000 foreigners came to Vietnam in 2018 to obtain medical treatment, bringing $2 billion in turnover to the country, not to mention the money travelers spent on healthcare services during their trips.