Golfing legend Greg Norman has been named Vietnam’s tourism ambassador by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism for the 2018-21 tenure.
The title was personally awarded to Norman by Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien at a ceremony on Wednesday.
The Australian millionaire golfer owns several companies bearing his name and has established over 100 golf courses across the world.
Among the 15.5 million foreign tourists that came to Vietnam in 2017, around 500,000 came to play golf, according to the newly-named ambassador.
As a tourism ambassador, Norman hopes to achieve an annual increase of 1-1.5 percent in the number of foreign golfers coming to Vietnam.
However, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said that they have not been able to classify foreign tourists based on the purpose of their visit so they are unable to confirm the credibility of the numbers provided by Norman.
He also has plans to use the golf industry as the catalyst for encouraging tourists to come to Vietnam from both the Southeast Asian region and the world by holding international events and competitions, as well as designing impressive golf courses in the country’s most appealing destinations.
During the ceremony, golfing legend Greg Norman shared his admiration for the Vietnamese golf course design industry.
In his 40-year golf career and 30 years of being a golf course designer, he claims he has never seen a market developing as quickly as Vietnam.
In 2006, Vietnam only had a few courses but it is now home to 35 in operation and several more under construction, according to Norman.
So far, the Australian millionaire has invested in and established five different courses in Vietnam, three of which have already been completed.
“I believe that my name in global golf can help attract foreign visitors to Vietnam, and turn Vietnam into a well-known golfing destination in the future,” the new ambassador proudly declared.
Minister Nguyen Ngoc Thien also expressed his hope that Norman’s reputation will benefit Vietnam’s tourism.
According to Australia’s ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick, Norman is one of the most outstanding candidates to promote Vietnam’s tourist industry.
“Greg Norman is not just an Australian name, but he also holds a global value.”
“Australia is Vietnam’s potential market and Greg Norman will contribute in attracting the tourists,” Chittick commented.
Born in 1955, Greg Norman is an Australian professional golfer and entrepreneur who spent 331 weeks as the world's Number 1 Official World Golf Rankings golfer in the 1980s and 1990s.
He has won 91 international tournaments, including 20 PGA Tour tournaments and two majors - the Open Championships in 1986 and 1993.
A tourism ambassador is selected to serve as a public figure to improve tourism and culture of a certain region.
One of Vietnam’s previous tourism ambassadors is American filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts.