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Thailand Tourism Authority

Thailand – a new focus for Hawaiian golfers

It may seem like taking coals to Newcastle or selling ice-cream to the Eskimos, but Hawaiians are coming to Thailand to play golf. Just like their counterparts in Scotland, Ireland, the US mainland and the world’s other premier golf locations, Hawaiian golfers are keen to travel for new and different golfing experiences. Where better than Thailand, Asia’s premier golf destination?

A delegation headed by the chairman of the Thailand Tourism Authority (TAT), Khun Vichai Srikwan, and governor Khun Suraphon Svetasreni has returned from a six-day visit to Hawaii with high expectations of many more Hawaiian golfers visiting the Kingdom.

"Hawaiians have previously mostly gone to the US mainland to play golf away from home, but Thailand is a big attraction," says Mark Siegel, president of Golf in a Kingdom -The Thailand Golf Experience, a co-operative marketing program comprising golf courses, hotels and resorts in Thailand’s four major golf destinations – Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai.

The 10-person delegation’s visit to Hawaii was organised by businessman and Oahu Country Club member, Randy Ho. The club hosted two tournaments for the visitors and local players, while a presentation night for 130 travel agents and tour operators provided an insight into the delights of playing golf in Thailand.

Mark Siegel said it was the most productive marketing trip he had experienced. "We were able to raise the knowledge and awareness of Hawaiian golfers about playing in Thailand," he said. "The quality of the courses, food, entertainment and value for money make Thailand unique. A seven-nights package with four rounds of golf is about half the price of most other golf destinations."

"It was a very successful trip," said TAT’s America’s region director, Khun Santi Chudintra. "As a peer marketing exercise it was exactly the right approach and enabled us to talk directly with our target market. As an alternative to the US mainland, Thailand has much to offer – 260 courses and many other attractions."

Member courses of Golf in a Kingdom: The Thai Golf Experience are Banyan and Black Mountain at Hua Hin, Thai Country Club and Muang Kaew in Bangkok, the Old Course and Plantation Course at Siam Country Club near Pattaya, and Chiang Mai Highlands in northern Thailand.