The Inaugural World Golf Expo (WGE) has been officially launched. The brand-new mega event will be staged in October in Haikou, the capital city of Hainan, often referred to as ‘China’s Hawaii’.
The WGE is the successor of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit (APGS) which has been an important regional conference on the business of golf for thirteen years. With effect from 2020, the reins of APGS is being taken over by the giant Mission Hills Group of China, the world’s largest golf resort with 22 golf courses.
The new event is not just a normal progression of APGS but a paradigm shift in terms of scale, size and mission. The new event is designed to not only give golf a new sense of purpose in Asia but to reach out to all stake holders around the world and to help bring about a unification for the general betterment of the golf industry.
Like everything that the Mission Hills Group undertakes, WGE is being planned to be a very thorough and all-encompassing event that is in keeping with the corporate ethos of the organisation which put simply, is to either be the pioneer of an initiative or be the biggest and best in it.
In this context, WGE is definitely the first of its kind and is planned to become the biggest. In terms of scale and scope, it is being planned to be a totally unique event. “APGS has been a tremendously successful event, and while WGE pays homage to its roots, it will also take it to the next level covering multiple bases,” said Tenniel Chu, the vice-chairman of the Mission Hills Group and the chairman of the WGE Organising Committee.
According to Chu, WGE is being structured to address the following key pillars:
- A global golf trade exposition;
- An international golf business summit;
- An international agronomy symposium;
- A global golf awards recognition event;
- A series of professional and amateur golf tournaments;
Collectively, Chu envisions WGE to “take on carnival proportions” designed to showcase the latest and the best in all things golf and to also stimulate and encourage innovative thinking relating to promoting the growth of golf on a global scale.
“There has never been a better time to promote golf in this region given the fact that Asia and the Pacific region is still the world’s fastest growing major region, contributing more than two-thirds to global growth,” Chu pointed out.
The WGE’s permanent base will be Haikou, which is the home base for Mission Hills’ Hainan operations. Its location is very central to all of Asia and its year-round tropical climate makes it a perfect setting as the golf capital of the region. Another supportive reason for basing the WGE in Haikou according to Chu is that “Hainan has been given the task of establishing a basic free-trade port system by 2025 and a world-class free-trade port by 2035 and this will be another big boon to the global golf industry.” This is in addition to the fact that Hainan is already well-established as an international tourism island, with visa-free entry for residents of 59 countries and 300 flight routes connecting 100 cities globally, making it one of the most accessible provinces in China.
Against this strong business backdrop, Mike Sebastian, CEO of APGG and the producer for WGE said, “The plus factors for staging WGE in Hainan are simply overwhelming when you consider that it is home to Mission Hills in Haikou which is part of the world’s largest golf resort.” Mission Hills Haikou is purpose-built for WGE and it has everything to offer as a true global showcase for golf.
The dates for the WGE are set for October 14 – 16, 2020. “While the show dates are set for October 14 to 16, the intention is to have a host of activities that will run concurrently with the main core events of WGE,” said Sebastian.
The WGE trade show exposition is slated to open on October 14 and will run through to October 16. The first day will be exclusively for the golf trade and invited guests. The other days will be open to the general public. “We expect an excellent turn-out of golf enthusiasts and the golf trade to attend the trade show from China, the ASEAN region, Japan and South Korea,” according to Sebastian.
“One of the stand-out features of the WGE trade show is that we will have an area dedicated for open-air demonstrations of various agronomical products which is going to be truly a unique experience for golf course operators and besides this, we will also be having a special demo-day for golf club equipment where consumers can actually test golf clubs at a driving range,” Chu revealed.
The World Golf Summit, the business conference component of WGE will be staged over two days, starting on October 15 and culminating on October 16. “The World Golf Summit will be a two-day deep-dive event in that it will be set up by a major theme-setting keynote address followed by half-day workshop sessions focused on key business topics impacting the industry,” said Sebastian.
One of the features of APGS has been the Asian Golf Awards, which, under the WGE umbrella, the Asian Golf Awards will be re-branded as the Global Golf Awards. The Global Golf Awards will be an expansion on the 20-year long heritage of the Asian Golf Awards and Chu observed, “It is a natural progression for us to grow the recognition event into a global extravaganza and given the scope of the WGE, it makes good sense for us to create a truly global recognition event that comes with a long and trusted pedigree”. The Global Golf Awards will be launched via an on-line poll that will run for a three-month period starting on March 1 through to the end of May 2020.
Delegate and exhibitor registrations will be formally open on March 31 and details will be made available on WGE’s official web site at www.worldgolfexpo.com
Mission Hills China www.missionhillschina.com