Pattaya, winner of the Golf Destination of the Year 2012 for Asia and Australasia, has triumphed yet again in the sports arena by hosting the Second Asia Golf Tourism Convention (AGTC) April 29 to May 2. It will be staged at the Royal Cliff Hotel , adjacent to the PEACH Convention Centre, perfectly located for accessing Pattaya’s 20 golf courses and local attractions.
Organized by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), the three-day convention will bring together leading golf club operators selling Asia Pacific golf destinations to meet local golf clubs, hotel managements, in-bound operators and tourist boards.
Pattaya’s success is a massive coup for the Eastern Seaboard Golf Management Association. Last year, in Kuala Lumpur, 426 delegates from 46 countries attended the inaugural AGTC and a greater number is being predicted for the Pattaya event. IAGTO’s president, Peter Walton said, “The response from buyers and suppliers who attended in Malaysia has been fantastic and we believe even more business will be conducted at the upcoming Pattaya event.”
Apart from formal business, there will also be seminars on the golf tourism industry and presentations on golf destinations along with functions courtesy of Pattaya City Hall, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Chonburi Province, East Coast Golf Association and the Royal Cliff Hotel Group.
Pattaya is now recognized globally as a top golf destination with many championships to its credit. They include the Honda LPGA Thailand, the Thailand Open and the Singha All Thailand Golf Tour. With first-class courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Peter Thompson, Gary Player and Pete Dye, the Pattaya courses now attract more than 500,000 foreign visitors a year.
Mike Mesommonta, president of Eastern Seaboard Golf, said, “We already have almost 100 pre-registered European golf tour operators attending the upcoming event and many more are following. It’s a golden opportunity to show off our first class golf courses as overseas bookings go ever higher along the Eastern Seaboard.”
As well as hosting the leading professionals, Pattaya also offers one of the world’s unique tournaments, the Fourth Thai Caddy Championship with more than 700 Thai caddies competing. The finals are held at the Siam Plantation Golf Course. As Thongchai Jaidee, Thailand’s top professional, puts it, “Our smiling Thai caddies are definitely the best secret weapon in a great round of golf.”
Pattaya City Hall told Pattaya Today, “The international golf convention next month is further proof that the city has discarded its old image as providing only night-life for tourists. We are now attracting leading sports associations and their followers from all over the world.”