MORE golfers are teeing off on Myanmar’s greens as the country continues to report strong growth in tourism.
“Since the country began opening up, we have seen a great increase in golf tourism. I’d say 15 per cent a year,” said Jeff Craig, club manager of Pun Hlaing Golf Club, one of the top golf clubs in the country.
“The main countries are Japan and South Korea, but English and Australian tourists are becoming more frequent,” he added. “The issue is a limited amount of hotel rooms in the area. We are building a lodge with 48 rooms which should help our numbers greatly.”
According to the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, golfers spend 120 per cent more than the average tourist during a golf vacation, and tour operators in Myanmar are beginning to recognise the potential on offer.
“Compared to other countries, golfing in Myanmar is very cheap and although (golf tourism) packages are not regular at the moment, there has definitely been an increase in this area over the last three years,” said Myatt Khaint, owner of MT & K Travel who runs golf package tours.
According to him, the most popular golf tourism destinations in Myanmar are Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Taunggyi.
“There will definitely be an increase in the industry over the coming years as people are always looking for new places to play, and many courses in Myanmar are undergoing renovations to bring them up to international standards,” he added.
Pun Hlaing Golf Club says that it is currently spending more than US$1 million to upgrade its courses and infrastructure and plans to become one of South-east Asia’s premier golf clubs.
There are 127 golf courses in Myanmar, according to global golfing body Royal and Ancient.