The government’s plan to offer golf resorts as alternative state quarantine facilities for international tourists landed in a sand trap after operators said the expense wasn’t worth it.
Pornsit Sriorathaikul, president of the Golf Course Association of Thailand, said only 15 of 87 qualifying courses and resorts initially expressed interest in the idea. Once they found out the details, that number dropped to five.
The government’s idea was that, instead of being confined to a hotel room for nearly all of 14 days, tourists could play golf and have the run of a resort during their time. But the extra expense of safety protocols and the potential backlash from Covid-panicked neighbors dissuaded operators from accepting the government’s offer.
Pornsit, who also is president of the RG City Golf Club in Pathum Thani and RG Salaya Golf and Sports Club in Nakhon Pathom, admitted that the lack of foreign tourists has hurt golf course operators but said not enough overseas duffers would come to Thailand to make converting to a quarantine facility profitable.
He noted that any course that offered quarantine golf would have to close to the general public. In addition, there would be considerable expenses to keep facilities clean and staff, such as caddies, safe.
Pornsit also said xenophobic neighbors might get panicked about foreigners potentially infected with Covid-19.
Preamporavee Puritotarat, marketing director for Golf Summit Windmill Golf Club Bang Na, said their seven affiliated clubs in Bangkok and Samut Prakan had no interest in participating in the program.
She said the company’s two hotels earn more revenue from non-golfers than golfers, income that would be lost by joining the scheme.