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Hainan seeks to woo golf travellers with new organisation

The Hainan International Golf Alliance has been established in Haikou to bring together government and golf tourism stakeholders from across Hainan province.

The body will seek to promote the tropical Chinese island as a golf tourism destination.

Officials from local government, including Hainan government party secretary, Ni Qiang, the vice mayor of Haikou, Deng Haihua, and the executive chairman of the Hainan Golf Association, Wang Yangjun, attended the announcement.

They were joined by representatives from Boao Forum Golf Club, the Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula and Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club, who will also make up the alliance. 

Hainan is the first province in China to form such an alliance and promote golf as a vehicle for international tourism in this way.

Tenniel Chu of Mission Hills Group, owner and operator of Mission Hills Haikou, the world’s largest public golf resort with ten courses in Hainan, will serve as chairman of the alliance. 

Chu is also the founding chairman of IAGTO’s China Chapter, the world’s leading golf tourism organisation.

Sun Ying, director of the department of culture, radio, television, publication and sports of Hainan Province, said:  “Inbound golf tourism has a promising future thanks to Hainan’s excellent climate, its abundance of quality golf facilities, a complete inbound transportation network and convenient entry policies. 

“The establishment of the alliance reflects the integration and upgrading of the province’s tourism, culture and sports industries.”

In the first quarter of 2019, Hainan received 319,100 overnight visitors, an increase of 20 per cent compared with the same period in 2018. 

The alliance will focus on major consumer markets in Japan, South Korea, Australia and south-east Asia, plus other countries that have direct flights to Hainan, visa-free entry policies (currently 59 in total) and an enthusiasm for golf.

Tenniel Chu, whose Mission Hills Group also operates 12 courses in Shenzhen, making it a world-record 22 courses in total, added: “The Hainan International Golf Alliance is prepared to unite all members to extensively expand contacts with similar organisations in other countries across the region and worldwide.

“We will continue to build the reputation of golf in Hainan and its appeal to overseas markets through tournaments, forums, exhibitions and awards.”

Chu – who was recognised with the title of Travel Personality of the Year at the World Golf Awards in 2018 –  continued: “Looking ahead, the alliance will admit airlines, charter operators, travel agencies, hotels and other travel-related companies, as well as more high-quality golf clubs in Hainan. 

“We will drive Hainan’s inbound golf tourism through product launches, overseas promotions, international events, and by attracting and training international golf professionals.”

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