As golf participation continues to decline in many established markets such as the UK, recent figures of a 12 per cent growth in golf tourism in Northern Ireland is a good sign for ambitions to establish a £50 million market by 2020.
Latest figures from Tourism NI’s 2017 Golf Tourism Monitor show the economic impact of golf tourism for Northern Ireland to be £39.9 million, up from £35.6 million in 2016.
It’s estimated that there were 123,000 golfing visitors to Northern Ireland in 2017, a 1,000 rise from the previous year. However, the number is significantly less than the 139,300 visitors recorded for both 2014 and 2015.
Non-domestic overnight visitors make up the majority of the economic impact. While the 2017 number of non-domestic overnight golfing visitors (16,900) is the lowest in the past four years, their economic impact (£29.9 million), is significantly higher over the same period.
North America is a key market for Northern Ireland, representing an £18.3 million expenditure by visitors, ahead of Europe, which has an overall visitor total expenditure of £4.9 million. The UK is third in the ranking with £2.7 million. Both the European and UK markets recorded a drop in visitors following on from a large increase in 2016, however, figures show that those who are visiting are playing more golf and staying longer.
Profile: An out of state visitor
• Takes between 1 and 2 golf holidays a year.
• Books golf rounds though an online tee booking website.
• Has previously visited Northern Ireland for a golf break.
• Is impressed enough with the experience to hope to return to the same golf course in the future.
• Intends to visit only Northern Ireland.
• The average out of state, overnight visitor will visit 3 courses on their trip, and play 4 rounds.
• The average out of state, overnight visitor spent £2,228 on their golf break, an average of £253 per day.