KPMG Golf Advisory Practice has published its Golf Travel Insight report for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, revealing Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Dubai are seen as golf tourism’s future hot spots.
The study, which surveyed more than 80 specialist golf tour operators in 21 countries and was conducted in spring 2008, prior to this autumn’s financial and economic downturn, reveals that Portugal and Spain are predicted to be the most popular destinations in the coming years.
However, some surprising destinations are catching up fast. Turkey ranks third on the list of future golf hot spots, closely followed by Dubai – despite figures that reveal the UAE has the most expensive green fees in the entire EMA region. A weekend round on a UAE course now costs on average €121, compared with €78 in Portugal (the second most expensive) and just €30 in the cheapest destination, South Africa.
It is not good news for established golf destinations such as Scotland and Ireland, however, where operators expect stagnation in inbound golf tourism.
Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG’s specialist Golf Advisory Practice for the EMA region, said, “From our research it seems well established destinations are not losing market share thanks to their deep golfing traditions and the quality of their golf, but the growing competition doesn’t leave much room for further growth. Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia were widely tipped as emerging destinations, and the quality of service in the US, combined with a favourable exchange rate at the time of the survey, makes America very attractive to European holiday golfers.”
The Golf Travel Insight study also paints a fascinating picture of the typical holiday golfer. They play four to six rounds of golf on their typical week-long break, sampling between three and five different courses, and spend an average of €250 per day on the trip – only a quarter of which is spent on golf itself.
When choosing a destination, they care most about the climate and quality of golf courses – and don’t value sightseeing significantly during their golf trip (sightseeing opportunities ranked bottom when tour operators were asked which factors were most important to their clients).
At the time of the survey in spring 2008, tour operators reported a confident outlook with 90% expecting the sector to keep on growing, 9% predicting stagnation and only 1% forecasting a decrease. Almost half of the surveyed tour operators indicated that high-end golf holidays are becoming more popular and that allocated budgets for golf packages are also increasing.
The report draws on findings from KPMG’s recent study on the overall value of golf to the EMA economy, which revealed that golf tourism generates more than €6.5 billion in total revenue, contributes almost €2 billion to GDP, and supports 60,000 jobs. Between 1 and 1.5% of all leisure trips in the EMA region are now taken by golfers.
Andrea Sartori added, “Our report reflects how important tourism now is to the golf business – it accounts for more than 13% of the entire golf economy in the EMA region. It’s encouraging to see that 90% of tour operators anticipate either steady or spectacular growth in the future. However, this research was conducted prior to the financial and economic downturn and had the survey been undertaken today, the results may well have been different.”
The full report can be downloaded free of charge at: www.golfbenchmark.com