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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Scottish Golf Tourism Initiative Expands

Hector Emslie and Andrew Shinie, Scottish Golf Trails

A major golf tourism initiative launched over two years ago is expanding to meet demand from visitors and operators.

Scottish Golf Trails was launched in December 2010 in a bid to attract more golf tourists to north-east Scotland and increase the region’s share of the lucrative golf tourism sector. It is now increasing its range of tailored stay and play golf holiday packages to include more golf courses and accommodation providers, all keen to be part of the initiative. Ensuring there is a wider range of courses for golfers to play also addresses a need highlighted by those who have already booked trips through the scheme.

A report published last week by KPMG estimated that golf is worth more than £1.1billion to Scotland’s economy, while other reports have suggested golf tourism alone contributes around £220million of this.

In 2011, a report into the future of the golf tourism sector suggested it could inject in the region of £300million to the Scottish economy by 2020. A separate report into the growth potential of golf tourism in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire published earlier this year put the current benefit of the industry to the local economy at £27million and noted that by 2020 this could rise to £67million.

In 2011, a report into the future of the golf tourism sector suggested it could inject in the region of £300million to the Scottish economy by 2020. A separate report into the growth potential of golf tourism in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire published earlier this year put the current benefit of the industry to the local economy at £27million and noted that by 2020 this could rise to £67million.

When it launched, Scottish Golf Trails filled a gap in the golf tourism market in the north-east of Scotland, generating welcome additional revenue for businesses in the area.

The opening of Castle Stuart and Trump International golf courses has generated a large amount of international interest in playing golf in north-east Scotland. When the Scottish Open moves to Royal Aberdeen in 2014, having been held at Castle Stuart in the three previous years, it is predicted that the exposure generated by this will also help to put the region’s courses on golfers’ must-play lists.

Hector Emslie, Scottish Golf Trails’ director, said: “Over the next four years Scottish golf courses will receive extensive exposure around the world as three Open championships and the Ryder Cup are held in the country. A lot of interest in playing golf in the north-east and Highlands has been generated thanks to the Scottish Open being held in the area. We have to capitalise on this exposure to increase the number of golfers wishing to holiday here and it is initiatives such as Scottish Golf Trails that can do this.

Hector Emslie, Scottish Golf Trails’ director, said: “Over the next four years Scottish golf courses will receive extensive exposure around the world as three Open championships and the Ryder Cup are held in the country. A lot of interest in playing golf in the north-east and Highlands has been generated thanks to the Scottish Open being held in the area. We have to capitalise on this exposure to increase the number of golfers wishing to holiday here and it is initiatives such as Scottish Golf Trails that can do this.

“The domestic market is, and is expected to remain, the most important one for Scottish golf tourism, but we also have to look to overseas markets. The emerging markets in China and Asia could prove interesting in the long-term, but at the moment we have to focus on North America and the short-haul European markets.”

One international market that could prove to be extremely lucrative for the north-east and Highlands and Islands is Germany. The direct route between Aberdeen and Frankfurt is already proving to be extremely popular and Scottish Golf Trails is making good inroads into the golf market in the country. It recently appointed German golf marketing specialist Helma Scheffler to work on its behalf to target golf holidaymakers in the country.

Commenting on Scottish Golf Trails expanded offering, Helma Scheffler said: “Scotland’s dramatic scenery and reputation as the home of golf are big draws for Germany’s 900,000 golfers. Many of them will travel abroad on golfing holidays twice a year, one of which will be to a short-haul destination such as Scotland. The north-east of Scotland has a lot to offer German golfers with many courses being within easy reach of Aberdeen; the direct air route from Frankfurt is also hugely important.

“There is great potential for Scottish Golf Trails in the German market because of the quality of its integrated product. German golfers are big spenders, but are also looking for a high standard of service. Because the trails are so well packaged with accommodation and courses, the scheme will also be popular with golf professionals who organise overseas trips for their students several times a year.”

“There is great potential for Scottish Golf Trails in the German market because of the quality of its integrated product. German golfers are big spenders, but are also looking for a high standard of service. Because the trails are so well packaged with accommodation and courses, the scheme will also be popular with golf professionals who organise overseas trips for their students several times a year.”

When it launched in 2010, Scottish Golf Trails filled a gap in the golf tourism market for an umbrella organisation to promote north-east Scotland to golf tourists. Numerous reports have noted the need for this type of initiative to help bolster the region’s golf industry. Similar regional initiatives in other parts of Scotland do not offer such a tailored and packaged product as Scottish Golf Trails, but they have been very successful in helping to grow golf tourism.

The four trails are:

  • Scottish Classics Trail, featuring: Crail, Fairmont, Kingsbarns, Carnoustie, Blairgowrie and Gleneagles golf courses.
  • Royal Deeside Trail, which includes: Peterculter, Banchory, Inchmarlo, Aboyne, Tarland, Ballater, and Braemar golf courses.
  • North East Links Trail that comprises the links courses of: Royal Aberdeen, Murcar Links, Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Newburgh-on-Ythan, Cruden Bay, and Fraserburgh.
  • Highland Treasures Trail made up of: Moray Old, Nairn, Boat of Garten, Castle Stuart, Royal Dornoch and Spey Valley golf courses.
  • In addition, an editor’s choice of select must-play courses – Newmachar, Meldrum House and Craibstone – is also part of the initiative.

 

Telephone: +44 (0) 1330 822226 , Email: info@scottishgolftrails.co.uk