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Robert Ratcliffe, Director & General Manager, Royal Golf Hotel, Dornoch

A delegation from the Highlands will be pitching the area as a leading golfing destination to some of the industry’s biggest hitters next week.

Highland Golf Links (HGL), representing three leading golf courses and a trio of its best hotels, will showcase the area to a potential audience of more than 40,000 business leaders from 74 countries attending the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, from 25-27 January.

The HGL delegation will promote our internationally-renowned links courses – Castle Stuart Golf Links, Royal Dornoch Golf Club and Nairn Golf Club – as well as partner hotels, the Kingsmills and Culloden House in Inverness and the Royal Golf in Dornoch.

Coming after a highly successful year for golf in the Highlands of Scotland, it is an ideal platform to further market the area at one of golf’s leading events, where Professional Golfers’ Association and Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association representatives, tournament directors and organisers, coaches, shop owners and managers meet to discuss the latest trends in golf equipment and technology, apparel and accessories.

With more than 1,100 interactive exhibits and the chance to meet face-to-face with golf merchandise manufacturers and distributors, the event offers perfect networking and promotional openings, as well as educational sessions and advice on business growth.

The PGA Merchandise Show is a global event, one of the industry’s biggest gatherings of the year and offers huge opportunities to promote the region and secure valuable business in a highly competitive market.

Meeting up with tour operators as well as PGA professionals gives us the chance to sell the Highlands directly to the companies and courses that form the itineraries for the visiting golfers. The overseas market has always been a key sector, which is why we are working together in a coordinated group to promote a world-class destination in Orlando.

In addition to the main conference, Fraser Cromarty, CEO at Nairn and chairman of HGL, will be among 80 invited golf professionals taking part in a prestigious gathering at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club which has been a regular host to a number of international tournaments including the inaugural Solheim Cup and the Tavistock Cup.

Fraser and Neil Hampton, chief executive of Royal Dornoch Golf Club, will also take part in a two-day Pro-Am event featuring 56 teams at Isleworth Golf and Country Club, another Tavistock Cup venue.

Both these events afford HGL a place amongst golf’s elite and fantastic opportunities to raise the profile of the Highlands and its golfing assets.

We want to continue the momentum built up last year when Castle Stuart staged the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open for the fourth time in six years; Nairn hosted the Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals and Royal Dornoch was the venue for another Tartan Tour event, the Northern Open and the biggest gathering of ‘royal’ clubs ever organised as part of the celebrations to mark 400 years of golf being played in the town.

We need to ensure 2017 is another successful year. With the dollar strong against the pound at present, the cost of travel, accommodation, food and drink are lower for visitors which can help tourism and inward investment.

It is a prime time for visitors to come to our shores and we will be ready to show what we can offer, including our Play and Stay packages, to give golfers the best possible experience at our famed courses and top rated hotels.