Golf travel was recognised by the Philippines Tourism Promotions Board as a pillar of its planned five-year sports tourism strategy at the 7th Asia Golf Tourism Convention (AGTC) in Manila.
The event, held last week at Resorts World’s Manila Marriott Hotel and organised by global golf tourism industry body IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), attracted 560 delegates including 214 golf tour operators from 33 countries – of whom a record-breaking 176 participated in golf familiarisation tours across the country.
Cesar Montano, Chief Operating Officer of the Philippines Tourism Promotions Board, added: “We are planning a five-year strategy for sports tourism within which golf travel will be an extremely important pillar. Staging AGTC in the Philippines this year is a landmark moment that will accelerate the development and implementation of this strategy and, most importantly, should lead to rapid and significant increases in golf visitor arrivals much sooner than would otherwise be possible.”
Montano continued: “In the period of only 10 days we have showcased our many and varied golf destinations and golf courses to the tour operators who will be at the heart of driving growth in this high revenue tourism sector. This means that we can now move on to the promotion of sports tourism in general which we will do through the medium of video, social and digital platforms.”
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton lauded the destination for hosting both AGTC and the familiarisation tours, which included the Tagaytay Highlands region and Clark/Angeles City as well as Metro Manila, and he was confident the event would help it reap rewards in the future.
“The Philippines provided an incredible environment for our tour operator members to conduct business over the past week, and as a result of the meetings and familiarisation tours, we can expect to see immediate and sustainable growth to the destination in the order of 50% over the coming two seasons,” said Walton.
He added: ”Just as importantly, the event and inspection visits acted as an invaluable training and educational opportunity for the country’s golf courses in terms of what the international golf traveller expects and demand from its golf vacation destinations.”
At the convention itself, approximately 1,000 meetings took place between international tour operators and Philippine golf courses, hotels, inbound operators and other golf tourism suppliers.