GOLFASIAN, the largest and most successful dedicated inbound golf tourism operator in Southeast Asia, marks two decades of triumph as it celebrates its 20th anniversary this April.
Launched in 1997 as an adjunct to a golf guide to Thailand, the company has expanded remarkably since its humble beginnings.
Since those early days, the company has established itself as one of Asia’s major golfing success stories.
In addition to organizing golf events and bespoke itineraries in the region for thousands of visitors each year, its destination marketing efforts have helped facilitate the growth of the Royal and Ancient game in nations such as Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
“As we have evolved so too has the game in this part of the world,” says Mark Siegel, owner and managing director of Golfasian. “When the company started in 1997 there was just a handful of international standard layouts: most of them in Thailand. Now there are over 100 with great courses to be found in virtually every country in the region.”
Siegel, a former IT expert from New York who initially came to Thailand to enjoy the country’s lifestyle perks and improve his golf game, has been a key driver of the company’s success.
Since buying the firm in 2005 he has worked tirelessly to build the business and share his passion for Asia and its golf scene with visitors from across the globe.
When he initially bought the company, he was something of a one-man-band: running the business from his apartment, driving clients between courses and engaging in all the marketing activities himself. Now Golfasian has dedicated teams throughout the region dedicated to providing its clients with the very best in bespoke golf experiences.
“I’m very proud of what we have achieved,” he says. “I fell in love with this region and its golf courses very early. It’s safe, easy, the weather is great and the lifestyle benefits are out of this world. Therefore, it is particularly pleasing for me to be able to share this passion with golfers from all over the world.”
With championship, standard courses continuing to proliferate around the region, the golf scene in Southeast Asia is as healthy as it has ever been. And as Golfasian marks 20 years at the top of its game, Siegel sees no reason why the next two decades won’t be just as successful.
“It’s so great to see these destinations evolve,” he says. “Take Danang in Vietnam for instance. It has gone from nothing to an internationally renowned golf destination. That gives me confidence that this region will continue to go from strength to strength.”