Bangkok, Thailand, 2012-12-19 — / — Ryo Ishikawa, one of Japan’s best and most popular young professional golfers, who has been “Thailand Golf Ambassador” since 2009, is to continue to enjoy the same status for another year, under an agreement with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The signing ceremony of the contract extension and the press conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 10 December 2012. Mr. Ishikawa was in Thailand to play in the Thailand Golf Championship, at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club, Chon Buri Province, between 6 and 9 December 2012.

Born in Saitama Prefecture, Mr. Ishikawa started his golf career when his father took him to a golf driving range at the age of six. In 2007, as a high school student, he became the youngest winner of the “Munsingwear Open KSB Cup”, one of the tournaments on the Japan Golf Tour. He was also recognized as the world’s youngest winner (15 years and 245 days) by the Guinness Book of World Records.

On 10 January 2008, he turned professional, making him the youngest ever Japanese pro golfer. He has played in the Royal Trophy, one of the most significant men’s professional tournaments held in Thailand as a member of the Asian team 3 times since 2009. Through his experience from these exciting matches, he has become very familiar with Thailand.

Mr. Ishikawa said, “Thai people are warm and friendly. I feel happiness with lots of Thai smiles while playing golf. Thailand is already known to have some of the best golf courses and facilities in the world, and the overall atmosphere is just wonderful for the concentration that this sport requires.”

He said Thailand’s caddies are much better at reading golf lines than the caddies in Japan. “The service is much more personal, too. In Thailand, we can get one caddy per golfer but in Japan, we will be lucky to get one caddy per four golfers.”

He said he could summarise his best impressions of Thailand with three words: “smile, warm and spicy.”

“I would like to recommend tasting Tom Kha Kai (chicken in coconut milk soup) which is as delicious as the Tom Yum Gung (Thai Prawn Soup with lemongrass). The next time, if I have a chance, I would like to find time to take a family trip to Phuket as well as other spots in both South and North Thailand.”

He said he was very honoured to be asked to remain on as Thailand’s Golf Ambassador and would work hard to ensure that more Japanese tourists visit Thailand to enjoy playing golf”. Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of TAT said, “Mr. Ryo Ishikawa is a superstar and popular among all generations in Japan and other countries. We are so proud and happy that he has agreed to continue being our Ambassador.”

Mr. Ryo Ishikawa has taken a very important role in promoting Thailand as an interesting destination, as he has often visited Thailand to play in major tournaments for many years.

Golf is one of the major attractions of Thailand that many Japanese tourists come to enjoy playing in world-class courses all over the country. The golf market in Japan is a segment with high potential growth, as the numbers of golfers keeps increasing, particularly female and junior golfers. Many Japanese golf travellers now rank Thailand as one of the best golf destinations not only in Asia but in the world.

In January – October 2012, the number of Japanese visitors to Thailand was 1,106,657, an increase of 12.9% over the same period of 2011. We are pleased that the total number of Japanese visitors to Thailand 2012 will be possibly hitting the largest record in history.

More Information, please contact:
East Asia Region
Tel:02 250 5500 ext. 1220-23
Fax:02 2537423