Golf tourism returning to pre-crisis levels

One in three golfers plans to travel in the next 12 months

Golf is one of the few international tourism sectors that is continuing to grow despite the ongoing global economic uncertainty. This is the view of the chief executive of the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators, Peter Walton, who recently addressed members of Thailand’s “Golf in a Kingdom” destination marketing program in Bangkok. Golf tourism has recovered more quickly than other sectors since the 2008 global financial crisis, he said, adding that growth is especially clear in Europe. International golf tourism is poised to exceed 50 million travellers in 2011, possibly reaching 55 million – the same level as pre-crisis 2007.
“In established markets, one in three golfers plans to travel in the next 12 months. That’s a lot more than in other sectors, like skiing,” he said. “We also know that golfers spend 120% more per person per day when staying in a resort than other travellers.” Spain, the US and Thailand are the big three international golf destinations, with Turkey and Portugal among developing countries that are rapidly increasing their golf tourism sectors.
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[pictured: Playing golf in Latvia; courtesy Latvia Tourism]