Tour operators from more than 30 countries travelled to St Andrews this week to meet with Scottish suppliers as Scottish Golf Tourism Week returned.
Opened on March 2 by Ivan McKee, the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, the three-day event is currently taking place at Fairmont St Andrews and is a partnership between DC Thomson, VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise. It is the country’s biggest golf industry conference, giving Scottish suppliers the opportunity to meet tour operators from around the world with the aim of bringing golf tourists to Scotland.
McKee met with businesses showcasing the best in Scottish golf tourism, and found out how suppliers are capitalising on one of the busiest ever summers of golf in Scotland. This year six championship events take place over five weeks including The Open, The Senior Open, AIG Women’s British Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
The event began in 2016 and took place annually until 2019. The pandemic caused the cancellation of SGTW in 2020, and the 2021 event was postponed until now making it the fifth time the conference has been held.
Over 80 Scottish golf businesses and 80 international tour operators are taking part, comprising around 4,000 meetings and multiple networking sessions, ending with the Scottish Golf Tourism Awards. It is estimated that the tour operators in attendance will be responsible for bringing approximately 50,000 golf tourists into Scotland.
McKee said: “Scotland’s tourism sector has been amongst those hardest hit by the pandemic, as restrictions have eased, more and more people are beginning to get back out on the golf course again, underlining the popularity of the sport in Scotland.
“The Scottish Golf Tourism and Visitor Strategy will build on Scotland’s position and reputation as a world-class golf destination and ensure the benefits are felt in every golf visitor-related business Scotland wide.”
Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “It has been a very challenging two years for our valuable tourism and events industry in Scotland as it continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic. It is a welcome return to the superb surroundings of the Fairmont St Andrews for Scottish Golf Tourism Week where colleagues and businesses benefit from in-person networking.
“The golf industry in Scotland is worth more than £1.1 billion. Golf tourism accounts for approximately £286 million annually and supports around 4,400 jobs so it will play a key role in overall economic recovery. We have an unprecedented summer of golf in Scotland to look forward to, with six major events in five weeks, which will help support the return of international visitors and promote Scotland as a golf destination of choice.”