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ITB Berlin News - Day 2

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GOLF TOURISM SPECIAL

GOLF TOURISM SPECIAL FEATURE 19 Major Growth Potential Riding a new wave of enthusiasm for golf tourism A 2015 survey by IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) indicates that up to 20% potential for growth exists in this sector – a fact of which the Hilton Hotels group seems to be critically aware. Having recently launched their own golf tourism website, Hilton is sponsoring events around the globe. The latest such event, the inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia took place at Royal Selangor from 18-21 February and the Hilton Kuala Lumpur was proud to be the official hotel of the highly anticipated cosanctioned event. Boasting a prize purse of US million, the top players from the Asian Tour and European Tour descended on the capital of Malaysia to enjoy a wonderful week of hospitality both on and off the course, courtesy of Hilton. Amongst the top names in the field were Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, Thongchai Jaidee and Malaysia’s very own Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung. As part of Hilton’s activation at the event, the company offered one million HHonors points to anyone scoring a Hole-In- One, which was achieved by Casey O’Toole during the second round after he holed the 193 yard tee shot with a seven iron. O’Toole who achieved his first competitive Hole-In-One said “It’ll be nice to stay in some Hilton hotels” as he applies his trade on the Asian Tour in 2016. Another “first” was the recent Hilton Durban Golf Cup at the Durban Country Club (DCC) on Friday 23 October, 2015. The big winner of the evening, was the Els for Autism Foundation, which benefited from the proceeds of a silent auction. Across the US market, IAGTO began its first nationwide golf tourism study In September 2015 following an announcement in June at its 7th North America Golf Tourism Convention (NAC) in Palm Springs that it was teaming up with Brand USA on a major initiative to drive golf tourism to the United States. US GOLF TOURISM SURVEY SHOWS ROOM FOR GROWTH IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “It was striking that only 2% of the participating courses kept accurate data on domestic and international visitor numbers, so providing them with a mechanism to achieve this simply and with minimum hassle was very well received.” Key mid-term findings from the IAGTO U.S. golf tourism survey: 93% of courses perceived themselves to be attractive to the international golf visitor and a further 4% were unsure of their appeal, while only 9.8% of visitor rounds were played by international golf travellers. 44% of courses projected that golf visitor numbers would be up in 2015 compared to 2014, with only 6% experiencing or expecting a drop in visitor green fees. There was much less certainty projecting international visitor numbers compared to domestic golf visitors, with 18% of courses unable to gauge whether international golf visitors would increase or decrease in 2015. This compared to only 7% of courses that were unsure about the trends of the domestic market, demonstrating that many courses did not have a good “handle” on the international market. Overall, international visitor rounds were expected to grow by 1.95% in 2015 with domestic visitor rounds growing by 1.80%. Of those courses experiencing an increase in visitor numbers, average growth per course in 2015 was expected to be 6.4% from international visitors and 7.4% from domestic visitors. 83% of courses were able to calculate the capacity for growth in golf visitor rounds in 2016 and beyond. This “desirable capacity for growth” represents 19.3% of existing visitor round numbers – meaning UP TO 20% POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH EXISTS IN THIS SECTOR almost one extra golfer for every five golfers currently playing. 41% of courses stated that international golf visitors spent an average of 18% more per person in the pro shop and on food and beverages than domestic visitors. Tens of millions of dollars were also generated directly by golf visitors in room night sales from only this small sample of golf courses and golf resorts. ITB BERLIN NEWS • Thursday 10 th March 2016

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