Golfers could boost Donegal’s economy considerably, the Fáilte Ireland Golf Forum heard this week.
According to the forum’s research, the typical overseas golf tourist is worth almost three times the value of the average tourist to Ireland.
With approximately 155,000 overseas visitors playing golf while in Ireland, this amounts to a total estimated spend of €204 million per annum. It is also estimated that expenditure of this size supports approximately 7,300 jobs in Ireland.
The research, which was carried out by Dublin based company Amárach Research, was conducted at golf clubs across the country during 2011 through face-to-face interviews with almost 750 overseas golfers. The results of the study were unveiled this week at Fáilte Ireland’s annual briefing for the golf industry in Limerick.
Tony Casey of Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort, who was at the briefing in Limerick, says Donegal has the best potential of any county to benefit from golf tourism.
“Here in Donegal, we have 7 of the top 50 courses in Ireland. When you consider that there are more than 400 courses across the country, it really shows just how much Donegal is at the forefront of quality golf.
“But we’re still trying to catch up with the number of overseas visitors that travel to the south west every year.
“The fact that Portrush is hosting the upcoming Irish Open should give Donegal a big boost as a golfing destination. With Sky covering the event, it will really put the region on the map and people will get to see the quality of our courses and links and benefit everyone.”
Speaking at the briefing, Tony Lenehan, Head of Golf, Fáilte Ireland, said: “This new research further highlights the importance of golfing visitors and the role they play in bringing in much needed international revenue into the Irish economy. Golf is widely regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest tourism assets and Fáilte Ireland, together with Tourism Ireland and the industry in the regions are continuing to invest heavily in the promotion of our golf product in 2012.
“In order to build on the impressive performance reflected in the research, the Irish golf sector will not only have to continue to offer memorable experiences but one that is good value for money. Most encouragingly, this new research shows that we are hitting the mark on both scores – with visitor satisfaction rates at 94% and value for money at 85%.”