Japan has seen basically nonexistent levels of golf tourism compared to other Asian countries, so the normally low levels of golf tourism are now gone and domestic golfers, predominantly those in the local areas surrounding the courses, are the only ones currently supporting the industry.
This is steadily changing with some prefectures (states) like Mie and Okinawa, seeing in-bound golf tourism as a viable way to prop up their golf industry from the pending catastrophic downturn in business due to an aging population no longer able to play the game.
Not only with golf, but a worldwide pandemic such as this one, functions like a regiment of chemotherapy killing off the weak cells, or businesses leaving only the strong to survive. It forces us to rethink our function in what we do and realize sometimes drastic needed changes to our systems and procedures.
For Japan I hope this means that golf course stakeholders, owners and upper management can finally let go of their far-fetched belief that the industry will return to its former glory, as seen during the 80s and early 90s with the bubble economy, when it was all eccentricities and money flowed like mud, you couldn’t stop it! And finally move to more modern business models that respect the customer needs more than maintaining their archaic systems.
For golf tourism, Japan has always been an empty canvas, but perhaps now even more so and the Japanese golf industry will need all the help it can get. They still are facing an aging population highlighted by a disappearing domestic demand with courses unable to adjust and embrace the future simply perishing. There is an urgent need to fully embrace golf tourism and mainly at a governmental level, as the industry with its current archaic management, is simply incapable of self-actualisation.
-Stay fluid everyone and together we can get through this.
Bennett J. Galloway
Galloway Golf Group
"The Japan Experts!"