Cebu poised to lead golf tourism reboot

CONTRIBUTED
PLAYTIME. The Cebu Swing, which featured friendly 18-hole rounds, has attracted over 40 golf enthusiasts from Luzon and Central Visayas. They played at Club Filipino de Cebu in Danao City, Alta Vista Golf and Country Club in Cebu City and Liloan Golf and Leisure Estate on April 23 to 25, 2024. / CONTRIBUTED

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 is positioning Cebu to lead the reboot of golf tourism promotion in the country.

Lyle Fernando Uy, director of the DOT Office of Product Development for Golf Tourism and Special Projects, recommended Cebu as a model to be replicated across domestic and international destinations, following the success of the three-day Cebu Swing: Golf Tourism Familiarization Tour on April 23 to 25, 2024.

Uy described the event as “a remarkable success, seamlessly blending the beauty of Cebu’s golf courses with its vibrant culture and hospitable atmosphere.”

“The tour’s triumph has paved the way for future collaborations and partnerships,” he added.

Cebu Swing, which featured friendly 18-hole rounds, attracted over 40 golf enthusiasts from Luzon and Central Visayas. They played at Club Filipino de Cebu in Danao City, Alta Vista Golf and Country Club in Cebu City and Liloan Golf and Leisure Estate.

The players completed one course before midday and spent the afternoons exploring nature, culture, and heritage sites, shopping, or enjoying the province’s dining and entertainment centers.

The group also visited the golf courses of Medellin, which is emerging as another premier golf tourism hub in the province.

“It has been quite a long-drawn-out rebirth for golf tourism, but it’s a sure and steady reboot,” said Gelena Asis-Dimpas, DOT 7 chief tourism operations officer.

Dimpas noted that Cebu Swing served as the “showcase of what Cebu is offering to golfers and their families and opens another season of golfing events in Cebu.”

Inclusion in Suroy-Suroy Cebu

In December 2023, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced her plan to include the golf courses in Cebu in the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo heritage tour.

“We could incorporate the Suroy-Suroy, you know, into golf tourism. I always say that the Suroy-Suroy is a feast for the five senses, but most importantly, a feast for your soul,” Garcia said through Capitol’s online news portal.

However, Garcia hoped that these golf courses will be built to be of the highest caliber in order to draw both domestic and foreign visitors.

Promising frontier

Meanwhile, the DOT is committed to working with both public and private stakeholders to develop golf tourism to attract more foreign travelers to the country.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco pointed out that the global golf tourism market is expected to grow to more than US$41.87 billion by 2030.

“Golf tourism represents a promising frontier for the Philippines, and the summit highlights our proactive approach in understanding, nurturing, listening to the golf tourism industry, and developing this niche as part of our tourism industry portfolio,” she said.

A golf tourist is said to spend 150 percent more of what an average leisure tourist spends.

The Cebu Swing was organized by the DOT Product Development of Golf Tourism and Special Projects Office, in coordination with the DOT 7, Province of Cebu, local government units and golf clubs.

The tour is the final activity in a series which included a familiarization trip for tour operators in December 2023. / KOC

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