Top golf destinations worldwide named

Global golf holiday sales soar 20% in two years

Worldwide golf holiday sales by golf tour operators have grown by more than 20% over the past two years, according to IAGTO, golf tourism’s global trade organisation.

Headline figures drawn from its 2014 golf tourism survey reveal that golf tour operators’ holiday sales globally grew by an average of 11.1% in 2013, on the back of 9.3% growth in 2012. And sales are continuing to forge ahead this year.

“Not only has the cumulative growth in golf holiday sales exceeded, on average, 21% in two years, but 2014 is set to be the third consecutive year of growth, with bookings taken in January being 14.5% ahead of bookings taken in the same month a year earlier,” said Peter Walton, IAGTO’s chief executive at the inaugural HSBC Golf Business Forum in Abu Dhabi.

“Even allowing for variations in the relative growth of different outbound markets, golf tour operators on all continents will be handling over 20% more golf holiday sales in 2014 than they were in 2011.”

The results come from IAGTO’s second annual Golf Tourism Survey, the largest study of its kind analysing data provided by more than 650 golf tour operators and golf courses, resorts and hotels worldwide.

But not all operators were able to post a growth in business, with 11.9% of golf tour operators experiencing a decline in sales in 2013. Nevertheless, only 4.8% of operators showed a drop in year-on-year bookings taken in January 2014.

Geographically, golf holidays booked by European golf travellers through IAGTO operators grew by 10.1% in 2013 (following an increase of 9.4% in 2012); North American golf travel sales were up from 13.5% growth in 2012 to 14.6% in 2013; and outbound Asian and Australasian golf holidays were up 12.8% and 22.5% respectively last year.

As destinations, the USA and Portugal continued to grow strongly and there were particularly good results for the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, which were the fourth-fastest and sixth-fastest growing golf destinations, respectively. The ten destinations considered most important for IAGTO golf tour operators are:

1 Spain

2 Portugal

3 Ireland

4 Scotland

5 Turkey


7 Thailand

8 France

9 Morocco

10 Italy


[pictured: Playing golf in Latvia; courtesy Latvia Tourism]


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