TEEING UP GOLFING VISITORS FOR A HIGHLAND FLING
Murray Maclean, Deputy General Manager, Culloden House Hotel
Earlier this month I travelled to Tenerife to promote the Highlands and its wonderful golfing assets at the International Golf Travel Market. IGTM is an ideal event to showcase what we have to offer discerning golfing visitors, particularly the outstanding courses and quality hotels that make up the Highland Golf Links partnership.
IGTM is the meeting place for the global business-to-business golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international media for four days of pre-scheduled appointments, networking opportunities and industry updates.
Scotland is known world-wide as ‘the Home of Golf’. Attracting international and UK-based golfers to play and stay in Scotland is a key strand in the country’s tourism strategy. VisitScotland has a dedicated golf marketing programme which targets golfers throughout the UK and in key international markets across the world. I was one of 19 exhibitors that attended IGTM to detail to visitors the outstanding golfing riches we have in the Highlands.
Latest figures show that golf tourism generates £120 million in revenues for the Scottish economy (this excludes green fee revenues, which are counted in golf facility operations) and approximately 1,480 people are directly employed in golf tourism jobs in Scotland.
One-third of all green fee payers are from outside Scotland. Of these, rounded figures show that about 57 per cent are from the rest of the UK, 19 per cent from Europe, 17 per cent from North America and 8 per cent from elsewhere.
Attending exhibitions like these offers a vital opportunity to tap into an ever growing market and attract visitors from around the globe to the Highlands of Scotland. This area has plenty to offer visitors – history, spectacular scenery, some of the finest links courses and, of course, whisky.
Chatting to tour operators about the golf that we have on offer, whisky was always a favourite secondary topic. On the back of another hugely successful Tomatin Single Malt Pro-Am event – played over HGL partner courses at Castle Stuart Golf Links, Nairn Golf Course and Royal Dornoch Golf Club – it was a timely discussion.
Imagine playing a round of golf on our championship links courses and recounting it over a dram of whisky in one of our luxury accommodation providers such as Culloden House, Kingsmills Hotel or the Royal Golf Hotel.
The majority of overseas golfing visitors to Scotland still head to St Andrews, but my message to IGTM delegates was that travelling a bit further north has undoubted.