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Golf tourism driving Scotland's economy

Press Release   •   Apr 20, 2017 10:10 BST

Castle Stuart Golf Links in the Highlands is a popular course with visiting golfers

The economic value of golf tourism and events to Scotland has increased to £286 million per year following a bumper decade in Scotland, the Home of Golf.

The new figure has been revealed as part of an independent study commissioned by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise, confirming the key contribution of the golf tourism and events industry to the Scottish economy.

The study reveals that the value of golf tourism and events has increased by 30 per cent (£66 million) since 2008, supporting 4,700 jobs and spreading benefits across the country’s golfing regions.

It also shows that overseas golfing visitors spend on average £338 per night during a trip to Scotland, which is more than 4 times the daily spend of an average overseas visitor (£78.90)*.

Other key findings include:

  • Almost half (47 per cent) of overnight visitors traveled from overseas to play golf in Scotland
  • The North American market remains key, representing 30 per cent of all overnight golfing visitors with 14 per cent coming from Europe
  • On average, overnight golfing visitors spend on average 6.79 nights in Scotland on their trip while for overseas visitors the duration jumps to 10.21 on average.
  • Overnight visitors spend on average 7.5 days playing golf while they also average 3.85 days participating in other tourism activities, meaning they are also benefitting non-golf tourism businesses and attractions
  • On average an overnight golfing visitor will spend £245 per night but this number jumps to £338 for visitors from overseas. For North Americans this figure increases to £405 per night
  • The majority of overseas visitors (57%) had been to Scotland before suggesting that, for many, a trip to Scotland is not seen as a once in a lifetime experience
  • Of all overnight visitors, 81% overall agreed their trip was one of the best golfing holidays or short breaks they had ever taken (higher for North Americans)

The results of the study come after a stellar period for golf in Scotland, which has benefited from the global media profile and economic impact of a number of key golf events including multiple Open Championships, Ricoh Women’s British Opens and The 2014 Ryder Cup among others. However, crucially, the economic impact of major one-off events such as The Ryder Cup is not included in the £286 million figure and therefore represents additional value to Scotland.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “These findings outline the importance golf tourism and events play in supporting Scotland’s visitor economy and the Scottish economy as a whole.

“Golf is one of Scotland’s unique selling points which resonates with potential visitors all over the world and signifies why we place huge importance promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf to a global market place. Our support of international golf events and our global golf marketing activity gives us significant media profile and I am delighted that this is in turn reflected in golf’s contribution to the Scottish economy.”

Danny Cusick, Tourism Sector Portfolio Director at Scottish Enterprise, commented:“Scotland has some of the finest golfing assets in the world as well as a rich golfing history and heritage, and with such tremendous international appeal, it comes as no surprise that the value of this important tourism sector has grown enormously in recent years.

“But we mustn’t rest on our laurels; we want ambitious Scottish golf tourism companies to capitalise on this upward trend and consider how best they can develop and scale their business to meet the growing domestic and international demand.

“We have a range of support available for companies looking to expand, develop their products, find new customers and assist their growth plans, and would encourage companies to contact Scottish Enterprise to find out more.”

The results of the study will now be used to further inform Scotland’s Golf Tourism Strategy: Driving Forward Together which specifically targets growing the industry to the value of £300 million to the Scottish economy by 2020.

Some key findings in relation to the strategy include the importance of the domestic market, particularly to Tier 3 courses and the evidence that domestic golfing visitors in Scotland showed a younger age profile than those travelling to Scotland to play golf.

In relation to The 2019 Solheim Cup, the report also showed some key opportunities for growth for female golfing visitors. On average 12 per cent of golfing visitors to Scotland were female but for Europeans this jumped to almost 1 in 5 (18 per cent). Female golfing visitors also tended to be more ‘committed’ golfers than male counterparts with more having handicaps and golf club membership and less inclination to describe themselves as social golfers.

To access the full results of the survey visit http://www.visitscotland.org/research_and_statistics/tourism_sectors/golf.aspx

ENDS

For further information contact:

David Connor

Golf PR Manager

Tel: (0131) 472 2063

Mob: 07794 046 295

david.connor@visitscotland.com

Notes to Editors

The study was compiled by SQW and Progressive to build an up-to-date picture of the Scottish golf tourism landscape.A mixed method approach was used to gather the research data.The survey incorporated face-to-face interviews with golfing visitors at golf courses (1,412 interviews), short ‘profile card’ questionnaires distributed at golf courses (1,118 cards returned) and an online survey (590 responses). The research also included a survey of 205 golf courses throughout Scotland to gather visitor revenue data.

Overall, the direct annual expenditure as a result of golf tourism was £183 million in 2015. Including multiplier effects this created £286 million of economic output across Scotland’s economy, with 4,700 jobs and £154 million in GVA. The scale of output has increased by £66 million since the last study which used data from 2008. This represents growth of 30% or 4.3% per annum.

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