Ryder Cup boosting tourism
Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones, has hailed the positive impact of The Ryder Cup as figures recently released show numbers of golfing visitors to Wales have increased by 11% over the past year.
And the economic impact of golf tourism for Wales in 2009 increased by 18% from 2008, to a total value of £34,700,000.
The National Golf Tourism Monitor results for 2009 also show an increase in the length of stays and average expenditure by golf visitors to Wales .
"With The Ryder Cup just around the corner it is great news that the number of overseas visitors and expenditure generated through golf tourism for Wales is at its highest level since the research began," said Mr Jones.
"It is clear that hosting The Ryder Cup is having a massive impact on golf tourism throughout Wales . The challenge now is to ensure that awareness and interest continues to increase and we maintain this level of golf tourism following The Ryder Cup."
The research shows that the trend in the type of golfing breaks in Wales continued the shift started in 2008 with a considerable increase in day visits from the UK and domestically.
Chairman of Ryder Cup Wales, John Jermine, said: "The strength of The Ryder Cup brand has given a huge boost to our international profile and golfing tourism has also benefited from our wide ranging investment in new and improved facilities throughout Wales .
"With over 90% of visitors rating their golfing experience good or better we have built a strong foundation for further growth in the future - the clubs have recognised the value of good quality and Welsh hospitality."
Levels of satisfaction amongst golfing visitors continue to be very positive in 2009, with 93% of visiting golfers rating their visit as either good (35%) or excellent (58%).
Mr Jones added: "I'm delighted to see that Wales has a high level of satisfaction for all aspects of a golfing break - from the welcome to the quality of the course. This level of satisfaction is evident as golfing visitors to Wales appear to be loyal and the country is growing in appeal as a golfing destination."
He explained there had been much work going on behind the scenes since The Celtic Manor was awarded The 2010 Ryder Cup to ensure Wales gets the maximum economic benefits from hosting the event.
"These increases in visitor numbers are testament to the investment the Assembly Government has made in the supporting The 2010 Ryder Cup, and the work of the Ryder Cup Wales and Visit Wales teams in improving the awareness and infrastructure of golf tourism in Wales."
Visit Wales has been tracking golf tourism since 2002 . Throughout this period, there has been a 50% increase in the volume of tourists, and a doubling of revenues.