Business

Golf tourism generates £40m in 2017

Pictured at Castlerock Golf Course are general manager Bert Mackay and Tourism NI golf marketing manager, Leanne Rice. The Coleraine golf course has recently had a major upgrade to cater for the growth in visitors and improve the quality of play.

GOLF tourism in Northern Ireland grew to almost £40 million last year, according to new figures.

The latest monitor results from Tourism NI have revealed a 12 per cent rise in revenue generated from golf in comparison to 2016, in spite of the fact participation continues to fall in established markets. Revenue from golf tourism in the north remains on track to reach the target of £50m in 2020, with Royal Portrush's staging of the 2019 Open Championship set to provide a sizeable boost.

More than 120,000 golfers visited Northern Ireland in 2017 and they spent over £2,000 on average per trip. The research revealed that 60 per cent of visitors like to include a trip to a tourist attraction when off-course and demonstrated that for every £1 spent on green fees in Northern Ireland, a minimum of £4 is spent elsewhere in the economy.

Key golf markets for the north include North America, the Nordics and Germany, while the Republic and British markets remain strong drivers.

Tourism NI golf marketing manager, Leanne Rice, said the latest figures are "very encouraging".

“The importance of golf tourism lies in attracting high spending visitors and dispersing their spending power throughout the visitor economy. At present our Golf Tourism Strategy is in place which provides a cohesive rationale and call to action to do just that.”

Tourism NI commissioned an annual golf tourism monitor in 2013 to gather data on the volume and value of visiting golfers to courses in Northern Ireland and gain key insights into the potential of the golf tourism market.

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