Published on : Wednesday, October 9, 2019
The number of golf tourists to Ireland has remained constant and contributing €270 million to the Irish economy annually. The high-end tourists in Ireland are mostly from North America. These are high-end tourists, with Fáilte Ireland data confirms that golf tourists typically spend three times more than the average tourist and account for over 1.7 million in accommodations. Indeed, the average spending of a golf tourist is €2,000 during their stay, with some 80 per cent of that going on non-golf related activity in the hospitality sector.
Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly said that the United States is one of our most important markets for golf tourism, and the North American market alone makes up 47 per cent of the total number of tourists who come to Ireland on a golfing holiday.
The flip side of the success of Ireland as a golfing destination is that green fees at the so-called iconic courses have increased – with the Old Head, one of the most in-demand, set to have a green fee rate of €375 in 2020 – while the simple fact of the matter is that demand is outstripping supply of available tee-times at many of the leading links courses, with many operators required to book up to a year in advance if they are to secure time slots for their clients.
In effect, the challenge for those involved in the golf tourism industry is to ensure that more courses – many of them critical in the past that they were being left out of the loop, so to speak – get a slice of the financial pie. This was evidenced in the aftermath of the British Open at Royal Portrush, where a group of U.S. media people were taken off the well-worn paths to take in the likes of Cruit Island, Narin and Portnoo and Murvagh in Donegal, Rosses Point in Co Sligo and Concra Wood in Co Monaghan among others, in an effort to show the depth and spread of courses available. There is a genuine effort among those tasked with marketing golf tourism to get the message across that there is a wide choice of courses spread right around the island.
Rory Mathews, golf tourism executive with Fáilte Ireland said that this is something new from its end that they have adopted, to make sure that that travelling media get to see what they can offer. They all want to play the iconic courses, but they ensure that for every iconic course that they also take in others.