THE Iloilo Golf and Country Club Inc. (IGCI) is ready for its first Iloilo Golf Summit, which will be held September 20 to 22, in Santa Barabara, Iloilo, an official said.
The thee-day summit aims to gather more than 50 high-profile golfers, associations, and decision-makers from all over the country to assess and discuss how to improve golf tourism in the country, said Herminio Maravilla II, president of IGCI.
"This is really an intimate meeting between policy-makers, decision-makers, heads of golf associations, golf courses, golf suppliers and service providers who will get together and discuss golf tourism in the Philippines," he added.
The 18-hole Iloilo golf course is the oldest golf course in the country, being established in 1907 in Santa Barbara town.
"Aside from exposing the Iloilo Golf and Country Club to fellow golf enthusiasts, the main reason of this summit is for the participants to draft and create an official resolution requesting the National Government to declare 2020 as National Golf Tourism in the Philippines," Maravilla said.
This will give way for local and international golfers to discover and play in the challenging golf courses in the country, he added.
"Although Philippines has been a haven for golfers for a very long time, we are now lagging behind Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and I find it more disturbing that we are lagging behind Vietnam and soon lagging behind Laos and Cambodia," Maravilla said, stressing these countries did not know much about golf 50 years ago.
"But now, they are completing with us," he said.
He said the summit will aim to look at the strengths and weaknesses of golf tourism in the Philippines.
Department of Tourism-Western Visayas Director Helen Catalbas said tourism is about storytelling and the Iloilo Golf and Country Club has a lot of stories to tell.
"With Iloilo also positioning itself as the new Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibits (Mice) destination in this part of the Philippines, we are positive that there will be a significant increase in tourism receipts and arrivals in the immediate future," Catalbas said.
She said the summit is the beginning of a domino effect for all tourism sector components in Western Visayas from transport, accommodation, food and beverages, as well as shopping and tours. (SunStar Philippines)