Recently published research by Fáilte Ireland revealed that the golf sector provides a total overseas spend of €202m for the Irish economy.  The analysis of the value and profile of overseas golf visitors to Ireland shows, with 163,000 having played golf while in Ireland in 2012, that each overseas golf tourist is worth €1,200 to the economy (two and a half times that of the average tourist).

In the wake of the successful Irish Open at Carton House, the research also shows that Ireland is hitting the mark on both satisfaction levels and value for money for our overseas guests – with satisfaction rates at 94% and value for money at 83%.

Commenting on the findings, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said –

“Ireland has some fantastic golf courses but we want to be the best in the world. That’s why we have been working hard to raise standards even higher within the golf sector, and ensure that every single golfer who comes to Ireland has an outstanding experience. The findings show that we are getting results.

“Golf is already an important part of the tourism industry, and there’s room to increase revenue further. Ireland also has fabulous scenery, culture, some outstanding golf links with magnificent sea views, and our world-famous charm at the 19th hole. So Fáilte Ireland is working closely with the golf sector to build further on our success rate.”

Other interesting points from the research include –

  • Golfing visitors are much more likely to be repeat visitors and those who return are also very likely to play again;
  •  Amongst overseas golfers, North Americans are the biggest spenders with an average per capita spend of roughly €1,800;
  • Approximately 21% of expenditure by overseas golfers is spent on green fees or other golf-related expenditure. This means that ancillary spend by golf tourists to Ireland benefits many other sectors, including accommodation, bars, restaurants and attractions;
  • As well as being a valuable sector, Golf tourism has also been outperforming the general tourism market in recent years, averaging 6% growth per annum between 2009 and 2012;
  • Overseas golfers are overwhelmingly male and affluent, with 90% being men and belonging to the affluent, white collar ABC1 socio-economic group;
  • In terms of age, 93% of golfers are over 35 years old, with half aged between 45-64 years old;
  • Golfing visitors to Ireland are more likely to be travelling with friends (44%) or as a couple (28%);
  • North Americans and mainland Europeans are more likely to travel in groups of peers, while British golfers are more likely to travel with a spouse or partner;
  • Ireland’s golfing tourists are also avid golfers, with nearly almost 90% describing golf as important and over 60% claiming that golf was ‘extremely important’ in their choice of holiday.

Crucially considering the last point, Ireland continues to utilise high-profile events to showcase its golfing product.

As part of the lead-up to the Irish Open, Fáilte Ireland developed a digital and social media campaign promoting the Irish Open and the wider golf experience available in Ireland. This included a specially commissioned ‘Greening in the Years’ video that highlights the great history and golden moments of past Irish Opens.(View the ‘Greening in the Years’ video here).  It is hoped the video piece will evoke great memories with viewers encouraged to share their favourite Irish Open moment through a one-liner, an image or a video across Fáilte Ireland’s social media platforms.

When speaking about the Irish Open, Ireland’s Official Golf Ambassador, Padraig Harrington said –

“I am eagerly looking forward to the 2013 Irish Open at Carton House for what promises to be a great weekend of golf.

“The ‘Greening in the Years’ video has reminded me of so many golden moments of the Irish Open. My most special memory is when I holed the winning putt at Adare Manor in 2007. The setting was magnificent, the atmosphere generated by the home crowd was fantastic and having my family there made it extra special.”

Tony Lenehan, Head of Golf Tourism at Fáilte Ireland added –

“Forget about ‘staycations’, we believe that there is great potential in ‘playcations’. As our research shows, golf is an important part of our tourism offering and a lucrative part at that. This year’s Irish Open will be the perfect opportunity for us to advertise to international and domestic golfers just what a great place Ireland can be to play and stay.”

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