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Thursday 16 February 2023

New air links help boost Central Vietnam as a golf destination

Vietnam is staking a major claim in the golf tourism space as visitors return to Asia at great pace.

Vietnam Golf Coast (VGC) is a freshly rebooted destination marketing organisation that links the best signature golf layouts in Central Vietnam.

The region includes courses like Sir Nick Faldo signature design at Laguna Golf Lang Co (below), Europe Ryder Cup star Luke Donald’s layout at Ba Na Hills Golf Club (above) and other layouts designed by the likes of Robert Trent Jones Jr, Colin Montgomerie, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.

Blue-chip tournaments and events are cornerstones of the plan to see Central Vietnam cement its status as one of Asia’s "must-visit" golf destinations in 2023.

“Asia’s top golf destination is not just recovering following the pandemic: it’s getting even better,” said Gary Dixon, general manager at Ba Na Hills Golf Club, one of the driving forces in the VGC.

This resurgence is reflected via several major golf events slated for 2023.

These include the Asia Grand Final of the Faldo Series - the only global amateur series for boys and girls - which will be contested at Laguna Golf Lang Co in April.

Central Vietnam will also roll out the welcome mat for the global golf industry as Danang, its largest city, hosts the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) and Asian Development Tour (ADT) over the course of the year.

“Many golfers won’t have been in Central Vietnam since 2019,” said Adam Calver, director of golf and destination marketing at Laguna Lang Co.

“We already had five great championship courses here at that time. Now, with the addition of two additional courses (laid out by Trent Jones Jr. and Nicklaus) we have seven.”

The drawcard is high-quality golf combined with beautiful beaches and luxury resorts like Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co.

The courses reflect local history with the Golden Bridge at Sun World Ba Na Hills a 150-metre-long pedestrian bridge (below) that is one of Asia’s most photographed landmarks.

Danang International Airport is currently Vietnam’s third busiest aviation hub.

In late March, national carrier Vietnam Airlines resumed its popular route between Danang and Tokyo, Japan’s capital. 

The coming months, meanwhile, will witness a ramping up of services between Danang and tier-one Chinese cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.

Other new routes launched so far in 2023 include services linking Danang with Taipei in Taiwan and Macau. There is also a link between Danang and Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

“Demand is surging once again,” said Dixon. “Before, I would have said that anyone serious about golf travel should be coming to Vietnam at least once in their life.

"With world-class courses opening all the time, I would revise that to say that you’d need to return every few years to do the place justice.”

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