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Vietnam named 2007 Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Wednesday, 12 December  2007

The International Association of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO) has named Vietnam its 2007 Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year.

The award was a crowning moment in a pivotal golf year for Vietnam. Development of the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail, launched July 1, signaled a coming-of-age for the countrys international golf standing. A month later, representatives of the VN golf community met in Hanoi to form the Vietnam Golf Association (VGA), the country's first such governing body.

We used to think of ourselves as the golf worlds best-kept secret, said Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Chu, General Secretary of the VGA, but with the announcement of this award, the secret is out. Vietnam is ready for the big time.

The IAGTO was set up in 1997 as a representative body for a number of the worlds leading golf tour operators. By 2007, IAGTO had more than 900 member companies in 72 countries. The Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year award, administered by the IAGTO, is announced each year as part of the International Golf Travel Market, an annual golf travel industry show.

The Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year award itself is voted upon by 85 members of the International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA). These journalists are charged with identifying the worlds one golf destination they consider to be the foremost undiscovered gem, based on the following criteria:

To what extent the destination is undiscovered
Qualities that make it an interesting golf destination
Attractiveness of the region and courses
Course quality and accessibility
Standard of accommodation
Friendliness of the staff
Value for the money
Speed of play

Recent winners of the Undiscoverd honor include British Columbia, Canada, home to the famed Whistler resorts; Wales, host of the 2010 Ryder Cup; and New Zealand, where some of the worlds top new courses have been developed, including Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers.

The following international golf destinations were nominated for 2007: Abu Dhabi, Alabama (USA), Alberta (Canada), Aruba, Azores (Portugal), Bali, Brazil, Brunei, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italian Lakes, Kenya, Louisiana (USA), Madiera/Porto Santo (Portugal), Montana (USA), New South Wales (Australia), Newfoundland (Canada), Northern Territories (Australia), Nova Scotia (Canada), Oregon (USA), Piedmont (Italy), Prince Edward Island (Canada), Sicily (Italy), Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tasmania (Australia), Trinidad & Tobago, US Virgin Islands,  Venetia-Tarvisiano (Italy), Vermont (USA), Vietnam, Virginia (USA).

From these nominees, six 2007 finalists for Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year were chosen: Abu Dhabi, Costa Rica, Italian Lakes, Kenya, Oregon and Vietnam.

We are thrilled that tour operators and golf writers worldwide have recognized that the standard of golf here and the quality of accommodations, and the ease of travel are world class, said Lars Holden, general manager at Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club, one of three Vietnamese golf clubs to host an Asian PGA Tour event (2004 and 2005 Carlsberg Masters). Its true that Vietnam golf has matured a great deal in a relatively short period of time. The golf here hasnt been ignored, but I think its new prominence is the result of several important factors all coming together at the same time.

Thanks to tropical climes, a thousand-mile coastline and a cost of living that makes golf, lodging, food and domestic travel extremely affordable, the number of international arrivals to Vietnam increased from just 250,000 in 1990 to 3.4 million in 2005.

Currently, there are 15 golf courses operating in Vietnam, with more than 30 projects in some stage of construction.

The complete list of winners from the IAGTO Awards, presented in association with Hertz, included:

Golf Resort of the Year Europe: Carton House, Ireland
Golf Resort of the Year North America: Ginn Reunion Resort, Orlando, Florida
Golf Resort of the Year Rest of the World: ArabellaSheraton Western Cape, South Africa
Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year: Vietnam
Golf Destination of the Year Africa & Gulf States: Mauritius
Golf Destination of the Year Asia & Australasia: Malaysia
Golf Destination of the Year Europe: Turkey
Golf Destination of the Year Latin America & the Caribbean: Argentina
Golf Destination of the Year North America: Arizona
IAGTO Honorary Award: Annika Sorenstam

See other recent news regarding: Travel News Asia, Hotels, IGTM, Vietnam, Golf

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