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North Wales in drive for new golf revenue
May 25, 2011

One of the world's top experts on golf tourism urged clubs in North Wales to join a major drive to help the region reap "massive financial rewards".

According to Giles Greenwood, the Golf Tourism Development Director of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), the potential is huge.

Mr Greenwood, speaking at the annual Golf North Wales Forum organised by Tourism Partnership North Wales, stressed it was important that clubs became more commercially aware.

He said: "There may well be economic doom and gloom around the world but that hasn't stopped golfers travelling the globe looking for new courses.

"The legacy left by a successful Ryder Cup Wales 2010 benefited all of Wales, both as a golfing destination and a wonderful location for golfing holidays.

"The tournament's further legacy was to showcase the castles, wonderful scenery, culture, fine dining and sea food - and North Wales has all of the above in abundance.

"Some North Wales golf clubs hire out their facilities for weddings and other functions and there is scope to do more commercially to encourage golf tourism. It really is a good time to embrace the value of golf tourism and the economic benefits it can bring to an area.

"There are more than 50 million golfers' worldwide, 30% of whom take a golfing holiday. That's a big market.

"Wales, and in particular North Wales, is seen as great value for money. There are hotels serving world class food, picturesque courses with inexpensive green fees and transport links to all of North Wales are excellent.

"Tourism Partnership North Wales has done a great deal to promote golf tourism and we need to build on this effort to reap even more rewards.

"Historically Wales has tried to attract the US market but the main focus should remain on developing the UK, German and Scandinavian markets. That really is its bread and butter.

"It isn't just golf clubs that benefit from golf tourism as hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions all see a benefit too.

"Golf tourism offers big rewards for those golf clubs willing to embrace it. Business is up year on year. We represent 375 golf tour operators in 52 countries with sales last year of more than £1billion."

It was a message echoed by Carole Startin, Marketing and Events Executive with Tourism Partnership North Wales, the organisation responsible for the strategic development of the region's visitor economy.

Ms Startin told the forum, held at Old Padeswood Golf Club, near Mold, that 2010 saw a 106% rise in the number of unique visitors to the Golf North Wales website.

She said: "Revenues to date show that golf clubs and hotels across the region have shared revenue in excess of £1.1 million since the campaign started with revenue generated via a central telephone booking line and an online tee bookings facility.

"We continue to promote golf across North Wales with marketing campaigns aimed at raising the profile of golf and everything North Wales has to offer."

Rob Holt, Chief Executive of the Ryder Cup 2010, told delegates: "Clubs right around Wales have and will continue to benefit from the success of the Ryder Cup.

"In 2009 golfing tourism was worth £34.7m to the Welsh economy. Last year the Ryder Cup 2010 helped generate more than double that - a staggering £84.7 million.

"It's up to golf clubs, working with Tourism Partnership North Wales, to seize the initiative and embrace golf tourism if they are to reap the economic benefits that are clearly available.  And remember we are talking about the wider local economy and not just golf clubs."

For more information go to www.golf-northwales.co.uk , www.golfasitshouldbe.com or www.iagto.com








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