Bangkok, August 27 — Asia’s largest and most successful golf tourism destination marketing program, Golf In A Kingdom, is expanding with the addition of three new prestige members.
The program – which promotes Thailand’s leading golf courses, hotels and resorts – now includes the Jack Nicklaus-designed Laem Chabang International Country Club near Pattaya, Suwan Golf and Country Club outside Bangkok and The Chedi, one of the leading hotels in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.
The additions bring the number of golf course members in Golf In A Kingdom to nine and the number of hotels and resorts to 12. Member properties are located in all Thailand’s top golf destinations: Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
With the Tourism Authority of Thailand also a leading member of Golf In A Kingdom and strongly promoting inbound golf tourism, Thailand’s number one position as the leading golf destination in Asia is set to remain intact well into the future.
“Thailand has done everything right in promoting the country’s wonderful golf assets and golf tourism experiences,” says Golf In A Kingdom founder, Mark Siegel.
“Thailand offers a complete package of excellent courses and infrastructure, with fun, entertainment and service. This year up to 600,000 foreign golfers are expected to visit Thailand and they will spend an estimated 60 billion baht ($US2 billion) in the country alone, so the figures speak for themselves.
“The ongoing success of Golf In A Kingdom after almost five years shows how highly the program is regarded and how important golf tourism is to Thailand.”
Laem Chabang, a 27-hole complex that opened in 1992, is 30 kilometers from Pattaya and 110km from Bangkok. The separate Mountain, Lake and Valley nine-hole layouts are among more than 300 golf courses in play worldwide that the 18-times Majors winner designed or has been involved through his company, Nicklaus Design.
Each nine-hole course at Laem Chabang is a close-to-nature experience that is visually stunning and always challenging. The Valley nine in particular, at 3619 yards, is 200 yards longer than the Lake and Mountain nines. It features water on many holes and demands precision shot making off the tee and into greens that are well guarded by water and sand.
The Mountain course begins as a jungle-like experience, before opening up to wider fairways and excellent fast greens.
Laem Chabang has hosted numerous championship events, including the 2001 Volvo Classic and the 2002 Thai Senior Open.
Suwan Golf & Country Club opened in 2005 and has hosted five professional tournaments – the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Thailand Open and Asian Tour events in 2009 and 2010.
The challenging layout, 45 minutes’ drive west of Bangkok, plays to 7100 yards from the championship tees and has water in play on all but three holes. Always presented in excellent condition, the Paspalum fairways and Bermuda greens are among the best in the Bangkok area.
Suwan is a semi-private club that caters for visiting international and local players at highly competitive rates. There are 20 rooms in on-site hotel-style accommodation.
Managing director Pongsak Pongsakorn says Suwan provides visitors a local Thai golf experience that is different to western destinations. “The atmosphere on the course and in the clubhouse reflects Thai style and culture.”
He hopes Suwan’s membership in Golf In A Kingdom will help grow Thai golf tourism in Europe, North America and other markets.
The Chedi, Chiang Mai’s only five-star hotel along the Mae Ping River, is in a compound-style setting near the center of town. Set behind a bamboo-clad wall, the restaurant area of the 84-room property was once the British Consulate.
General manager Stefan Noll says Chiang Mai is a perfect location for golf tourism. “Courses are not overly crowded, are very high quality and are reasonably priced. As a high-end hotel, The Chedi caters for inbound golfers who can come leave Chiang Mai without having to go back through Bangkok.”
The hotel’s top three external markets are the United States, Thailand and the United Kingdom, with Australia, Germany and Switzerland also strongly represented.
Golf course members of Golf In A Kingdom are: Banyan Golf Club and Black Mountain Golf Club near Hua Hin, Siam Country Club’s Old Course and Plantation Course and Laem Chabang near Pattaya, Thai Country Club and Muang Kaew Golf Club in Bangkok, and Chiang Mai Highlands at Chiang Mai.
Hotel and resort members are: Banyan Resort, Hilton Hua Hin Resort and Veranda Resort & Spa in Hua Hin and Cha-am; Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort and Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa on Phuket; Veranda Resort & Spa and The Chedi at Chiang Mai; Millennium Hilton and The St Regis, Bangkok.
For more information, visit www.golfinakingdom.com
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