Peter Walton, Chief Executive of the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO)
Golf tourism continues to grow at pace, despite global economic uncertainty, and has the potential to drive the tourism recovery. This is the view of Peter Walton, Chief Executive of the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO), who addressed members of Thailand’s ‘Golf In A Kingdom’ destination marketing programme in Bangkok this week.
Walton said that golf tourism had recovered more quickly than other sectors since the 2008 global financial crisis, and that despite continuing problems, the sector was continuing to grow. Walton cited figures that forecast international golf tourism would exceed 50 million travellers in 2011, and perhaps reach 55 million, equivalent to the level in 2007 before the downturn.
“Golf tourism bounces back more quickly than other sectors,” Walton said. “In established markets, one in three golfers plan to travel in the next 12 months. That is a lot more than in other sectors, like skiing. We also know that golfers spend 120% more per person per day when staying in a resort than other travellers.”
Walton, who is visiting the region from his London headquarters in preparation for the inaugural IAGTO Asia Golf Tourism Convention in Kuala Lumpur next April, also said that whereas only 12% of the population in the US played golf, golfers were responsible for 27% of US travel expenditure.
“While we don’t have figures for other countries, this shows how important golf tourism is in the current international tourism climate,” he said, adding that along with the US, Spain and Thailand were currently the big three international golf destinations.
“Thailand is very well placed to continue the progress it has made in promoting golf tourism,” he noted.