Golf travel industry bouncing back says KPMG

Despite news that Britain has slipped back into recession and the Dutch government has collapsed amid financial crisis, golfers have reason to remain upbeat.

According to a new survey from global financial services company KPMG, golf tourism is on the increase and bouncing back from economic downturn.

Bookings up say Tour Operators
The Golf Travel Insights report showed that 60% of golf tour operators experienced an increase in the number of golf breaks booked in 2011, compared to just 38% in 2010.

Golf Son Gual in Mallorca

Golf breaks in Europe are on the up

Encouragingly, only 12% of tour operators reported a decrease in bookings in 2011 compared to 54% the year before.

The survey, published by KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice, draws on feedback from 90 golf tour operators in 35 countries, the majority of which are European.

Business barometer
The survey is unofficially viewed as an indicator of the golf travel industry’s performance and outlook.

The Big headlines:

  • Spain and Portugal are still the most popular golf tourism destinations narrowly edging the UK & Ireland

They aren’t immune to the downturn as is seen by the fact Spain and Portugal saw an average price drop of 10-20% for golf holiday packages in 2011.

  • North African tourism, especially in Tunisia, suffered as a result of political and social unrest in the region.

Turkey, Thailand and Vietnam continue to emerge as popular destinations for golf holidays even though destinations in South East Asia increased prices by 30-50% the report revealed.

Turkey also experienced a price hike of 10-20%.

  • Overall, most golf tour operators (51%) maintained similar prices in 2011 to 2010.
  • Italy and Bulgaria are increasingly being thought of as upcoming golf travel destinations, drawing growing attention from golf tour operators.

While North America maintains a strong domestic golf travel market, Argentina and the Dominican Republic are becoming popular outbound tourism destinations for US citizens, tour operators reported.

  • Golfers from the USA and Canada, the UK, Scandinavia (predominantly Sweden) and Germany remain the biggest golf travellers.

Golfers splash the cash
KPMG also found that golfers spend significantly more on a holiday than regular leisure tourists, typically €600-900 on a four to seven-night golf break.

More than a third of these breaks (35%) are group bookings of 8-12 people.

Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice in EMA, said:

“Our survey shows there is price sensitivity in the market and the popular destinations of Spain and Portugal have had to reduce their prices to maintain competitiveness.

“The quality of the golf courses is the most important factor for a consumer when choosing a destination, but the package price is now almost equally important.”

Andrea Sartori - KPMG's man for predicting the outlook of golf tourism

Andrea Sartori says golf tourism is bouncing back

Andrea Sartori added: “The outlook among golf tour operators is generally positive, with nearly three-quarters of those surveyed anticipating growth in the coming year.”

Download the full report by clicking here

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Global Golfer is a magazine for anyone who simply has to tee it up on their travels - from a sheep-shorn 9 holer on a Scottish island to luxury resorts in the Caribbean - we take you inside the ropes of the world's golf courses, resorts and bucket-list buddy trips.

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