Golf tourism market changes

Golf tourism market changes

Golf tour operators have seen a 38% fall in demand, according to a new report. Data from the Golf Travel Insights 2010 report by the Golf Business Community (GBC) and KPMG has shown that golf tourists are travelling less frequently and becoming more cost conscious. However, the UK remains a strong market for the sector and more than half of respondents saw an increase in golf tourists (-19% from 2009). “Golf travel tends to recover quicker than general leisure tourism, with avid golfers refusing to be denied their regular golf travel fix,” said International Association of Golf Tour Operator’s (IAGTO) President and Chief Executive Peter Walton. “However, their choice of destination and resorts can change quickly and dramatically which means that not all golf tourism suppliers recover at the same rate from every downturn.” IAGTO revealed that 70% of golfers like to find new places to play and predicted that winter sun destinations such as Spain and Portugal will be popular, as well as new resorts in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Golfbreaks.com CEO Andrew Stanley said the market had become more price sensitive. “Demand in Spain and Portugal, generally speaking, is down, although Golfbreaks’ business is tracking on a 30% increase this year to both destinations,” he said. “However, Spain and Portugal both dropped their prices to stimulate demand, followed by France and latterly Ireland.” Stanley revealed that long-haul destinations such as the USA and South Africa had seen a drop in sales, although he said these would be improved (with the Caribbean) when airlines increase their airline capacity. As a result, Turkey has seen a rise in demand for golf tourists. “Turkey is on the up and we are keeping a close eye on the United Arab Emirates, too, which is looking promising,” revealed Stanley. “One of the attractions, besides the good quality courses and climate, are the all-inclusive hotel packages, which are appealing in a price sensitive market, as people know exactly what they are paying”. In addition, sales in the UK domestic market have been boosted by 12% as more golfers opt to take their breaks at home. “The UK is still our number one market, both by volume and price,” explained Stanley. “Interestingly, Wales, which is hosting the Ryder Cup, has had a very strong year driven by some high profile marketing.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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