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The Asian Golf Tourism Convention is seen to give the local golf industry a much needed boost.
By: Theresa S. Samaniego – @inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:37 AM April 21, 2018
The country is bent to score no less than a hole-in-one.
As host of this year’s Asian Golf Tourism Convention, the Philippines is once again thrust into the spotlight, enabling it to showcase to about 200 tour operators some of the top golf courses in the country.
This convention is expected to give the local golf industry that much needed boost and a renewed confidence among aficionados—a development that could very well help turn the Philippines into a preferred golfing destination in Asia.
Organized by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) and the Association for Inbound Golf Tourism Philippines (AIGTP), the Asian Golf Tourism Convention is expected to provide information, create opportunities and promote golf tourism in the country. This convention, which will be held from April 22 to 25, serves as a strong indicator of the country’s determination and readiness to host such huge, regional golfing events.
“AIGTP’s mission is to unite all sectors in the golf tourism industry. We would like to be instrumental in giving tourists access to private golf courses in order to achieve a sustainable growth of golf tourism which will definitely help in boosting the economic growth of the country,” explained AIGTP president Connie Mamaril.
“The Asia Golf Tourism Convention will be a good eye opener for our private golf courses to open their doors to tourists as more international golfers would be coming in to experience what Philippine golf courses have to offer,” she added.
For its part, the Philippine government has expressed support to help AIGTP find solutions to the problems faced by local golf tour operators.
“We warmly welcome partnering with institutions and agencies to bring forward the Philippines as the preferred sports destination in Southeast Asia,” added Tourism Promotions Board COO Cesar Montano.
In the Philippines, there are a number of golf courses that are well poised to benefit from the government’s thrust to develop the country into a preferred sports destination.
Sta. Lucia Land Inc., for one, has long set itself apart from other developers, being a pioneer of world-class golf course developments in the country.
One of its first ventures was the highly successful Royale Tagaytay Golf & Residential Estates, which was soon followed by the world-class golf and country club development that is The Orchard Golf & Country Club in Cavite.
This was where the company hosted one of the most prestigious international golf tournaments the country had ever seen—the 1995 Johnnie Walker Championship Tournament.
Taking a swing, Sta. Lucia has definitely hit a hole-in-one in its creation of world-class golf courses, which allowed the company to grow and gain a stronger foothold in the market.
Currently, golf courses and country clubs remain one of the company’s strong performing assets and revenue drivers.
Company officials, however, are hopeful that the younger generation will continue to embrace and see the value of the sport and everything that comes with it.
“The golf industry is dependent on the next generation that will take of it. Looking at it with a certain attitude of openness, this will support the growth of the industry. Professionals, golf developments, and golf programs are all dependents of this,” said Sta. Lucia Land chairman Vicente Santos.
“At Sta. Lucia, we encourage more people, especially the youth, to play golf, and we have programs to support this. By building 12 new world-class golf courses which are easily accessible to the city center, Sta. Lucia projects have become a haven for golfers as we also offer discounts for inter-golf club memberships. This is an easier package for the youth as it is affordably priced,” he added.
A true innovator, Sta. Lucia Land continues to top its every project, even going beyond global standards, as what it had done for the Eagle Ridge Golf & Country Club, reportedly the first and the largest golf development of its kind in Asia.
Boasting 72-hole championship golf courses in one club, it further cemented its prestige when it commissioned three golf masters, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Isao Aoki, plus foremost golf architect Andy Dye to design the courses. It is also the only club of its kind to have three clubhouses to cater to the needs of its members, their families, and guests.
And seeing the warm reception from many golf aficianados from here and abroad, Sta. Lucia then proceeded to develop more world-class golf and country clubs around the country which included Ata Vista Golf & Country Club in Cebu; Rancho Palos Verdes Golf & Country Club in Davao City; and Caliraya Spring Golf & Country Club in Cavinti, Laguna, Lakewood in Cabanatuan City. The Summit Point Golf & Country Club in Lipa, Batangas, showcases the “World 18” concept, in which 18 of the world’s best holes will be simulated within the course.