Golfasian’s Managing Director Mark Siegel says that his company had a ‘master stroke’ in deciding more than six years ago to begin the Centara World Golf Masters in Hua Hin in June. He was aware that many businesses struggle at this time of the year as European travellers often prefer to enjoy their summer closer to home.
Not deterred by that reality, his company decided to target a different market and in cooperation with Australian-based Go Golfing, Australia was that market. June is the winter in this southern region and for travellers, including golfers; this is the time to head north.
The Centara World Masters is a join initiative between Australian-based Go Golfing and Bangkok-based golf tour operator, Golfasian. Tournament director, Peter McCarthy, the principal of Go Golfing in Australia, says that this year’s event had 400 participants representing 22 countries, with Australians making up around 80% of these golfers.
Black Mountain, Banyan, Springfield and Imperial Lake View golf clubs provided the golfing conditions during the tournament which were ‘sensational’ according to the participants.
This year golfers who had participated in at least five of the six events conducted so far were made members of ‘Club 5’, with next year’s event confirmed for 7th to 13th June and many more to come; ‘Club 10’ is on the way.
The host hotel, the Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Hua Hin, was fully booked with event participants with the Centara able to provide very convivial facilities for the welcome dinner, cultural entertainment poolside, with social and entertainment events each night culminating in a colourful beach party and presentation dinner on the final night.
Centara General Manager and Corporate Director of Operations David Martens, Mark Siegal from Golfasian, Peter McCarthy from Go Golfing, together with management representatives of the golf courses involved were poolside amongst very joyful golfers on the final presentation celebrations.
It was revealed that Hua Hin charity, the Jungle Aid Foundation, was the beneficiary of massive donations at the after game ‘19th hole’ social scene with a total of 245,000 THB realised. Perhaps disappointing was the absence of a formal presentation to the organisation on the final night. Founder Emma Neve described this most generous contribution as “amazing, unbelievable”; but there was no invitation offered for the presentation evening with the organisation unable to offer their final thanks in person.
Other notable absences were Thai officials either from the municipality or provincial governments or tourism promoters, including the Tourism Authority of Thailand. With this event providing an example of how to beat the quiet season blues; the absence of that support is disappointing.
The success of the Centara World Golf Masters in Hua Hin provides a lesson to be learnt by regional tourism promoters. When the European tourism market goes quiet, there are southern tourists eager to escape their winter!
For more information see: www.thailandworldmasters.com