Former tennis professional Peter Burwash, who played in the professional circuit from 1967 to 1974, including a match with legend Arthur Ashe, chatted with Travel Agent Thursday afternoon and gave us some pretty solid reasons to believe that agents can one day make more money on tennis travel than they do in the already-lucrative golf travel market.
For nearly 40 years now, Burwash has been the president of Peter Burwash International, a California-based company that employs roughly 100 tennis professionals and partners with resorts in the Caribbean and the rest of the world to provide top-of-the-line tennis instruction to resort guests.
Burwash, who was in the Big Apple for the ongoing U.S. Open tournament, told us the low cost and ease of learning the sport will soon put it ahead of golf travel when it comes to putting money in agents’ pockets.
“This is a sports that lends itself to family participation, is very cheap to play and takes us a lot less than the five years its usually takes you to be able to play golf successfully,” he says.
Burwash’s company has five resort partners in the Caribbean, including the Hyatt Regency Curacao, The Four Seasons Nevis and Rosewood Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands, and is looking to soon add resort partners in the Dominican Republic and St. Lucia.
Burwash, who noted that tennis was the fastest growing sport within the last year, says the Caribbean is one of the best places in the world to play the sports that has again become an American sensation.
In fact, Burwash has been looking to partner with a host of U.S. agents looking to make tennis travel their specialty. Kim Rhodes of CMC Travel Services, an agency based in San Francisco that caters to both corporate and leisure travel, says her company is looking to launch a tennis travel division within the next year, called OneWorld Tennis Tours. The new program aims to put clients in touch with the people and cultures of other countries through the game of tennis. It was spearheaded by Lauren Chiang, owner of CMC Travel Services.
“I really think tennis travel will become bigger and bigger for agents,” she says. “I think it will even become bigger than golf travel simply because tennis is a cheaper sports to play.”
Burwash says agents booking tennis-loving clients should ask themselves certain questions when booking at a resort with tennis courts: are the courts actually located on the property; do the courts have lights because “playing tennis at night in the Caribbean with the cool breeze and the sound of the ocean is the best possible way to play the game;” what is the quality of the resort's instruction program; and what are the property’s tennis fees.
So what’s the best place to play tennis in the Caribbean?
Burwash says the clay courts at the Hyatt Regency Curacao are among some of the best he’s ever seen in the Caribbean while The Four Seasons Nevis is one of the most in-demand resorts to play at in the region.