KUCHING: The state has been urged to look seriously into golf sports tourism as Sarawak has a number of top-class golf courses.
“The State must look into golf sports tourism. Sarawak must look into the possibility of having a signature golf championship of international stature. The return of investment of organising such international class golfing event is tremendous,” said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek during an exclusive interview with The Borneo Post during his working visit to the aquatic centre at Jalan Keretapi here yesterday.
However, such a move must be initiated by the private sector.
“Sports tourism events always gets good support from my ministry and the various tourism bodies. Many big corporate bodies such as CIMB Bank and Malayan Banking are heavily involved in sponsoring international class golf tournaments in Malaysia.
The government can facilitate in the organising of world class golf events in sarawak,” assured Shabery.
Golfers look for different experiences, and Sarawak has some special attractions.
For example Damai Golf was designed by arnold palmer while Country Heights is set among the world’s oldest rainforest.
He further advised golf clubs in Sarawak to work closely with international golf bodies such as the Professional Golf Association (PGA) to organise a world class golf event here.
“I have played golf at Damai Golf and also at Kelab Golf Sarawak. Damai Golf is very scenic and has better potential for golf tourism. The state must promote Damai more as the exposure is good for the state,” said Shabery.
Touching on exposure, Shabery added that a 4-day golf tournament would generate massive airtime which translate to huge return on investment for Sarawak.
According to Sarawak assistant minister of tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Damai Golf has been winning many awards and accolades.
“A Taiwan golf magazine recently rates it among the best 100 golf courses in the world.
The golf course is currently undergoing further improvement.
Those people playing at DGCC has the advantage of staying at our numerous hotels in Kuching – Damai Beach Resort, Grand Margherita and Riverside Majestic at a special rate,” revealed Talib who is also the chairman of SEDC Sarawak.
Based on studies, a foreign golf tourist is worth three times the value of the average tourist as they tend be high spenders.
With the value of sports tourism in the country reaching the RM5-billion mark annually, it is high time the state government makes sports golf tourism one of its top focus areas.