SEBRING — In an effort to attract more golf tourism to Highlands County as a vacation destination, the Highlands County Tourist Development Council recently hosted a group of 16 golf tour operators from China on Sept. 28-30.

The purpose of the trip was for Chinese tour operators, who specialize in golf vacations to Florida, to experience a golf vacation in the Sebring area so they can then sell the golf vacation to their clients back in China.

“Since many China golf tours include stays in Orlando, Tampa and south Florida, adding Sebring as another stop makes sense logistically as the Chinese prefer to drive themselves in the U.S.,” said TDC Marketing Consultant Casey Hartt. “China only has 400 golf courses, so they are always looking for new and unique destinations to travel to and play golf, and Florida is quite popular for international tourists.”

Hotel rooms were provided by Inn on the Lakes, and the group played Sun ‘n Lake Golf Club’s Turtle Run Course and Highlands Ridge’s North Course. The group also visited Maxwell Groves, Cowpoke’s Watering Hole, Sebring International Raceway, Eighteen East Restaurant & Bar, and Sugar Sand Distillery.

“The TDC is charged with developing our tourism clientele, and China is certainly a new market for us to target in terms of golf visitation,” said Jim Brooks, TDC chairman and Highlands County commissioner.

The mission of the TDC is to promote Highlands County as a friendly, attractive and diverse destination for tourism, thus creating a positive economic impact benefiting the entire community. It serves as a destination marketing organization that works to generate overnight stays, increase tax revenues, stimulate economic growth and strives to constantly enhance the image of Highlands County. For more information, visit


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