It would have been a shock to learn otherwise but Spain has been suffering something of a battering in recent years on various well-documented fronts. On this occasion, however, no unpleasant surprises: according to a new study of European golfers, the country maintains its supremacy as the most popular travel destination for visitors from the UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia.
More than 28 per cent of the respondents had played golf in Spain over the previous 12 months, citing such favourable key contributing factors as the standard and range of the country’s golf courses, consistent levels of high quality accommodation and the favourable year-round climate.
The findings were part of a new research document entitled “European Spotlight on Golf Tourism to Spain”, commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of IGTM (which will be held from 11 to 14 November at Costa Daurada in Cataluña) and produced by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc.
Second in popularity behind Spain was Portugal (17 per cent), followed by Great Britain & Ireland (16.1 per cent), Turkey (7.5 per cent), France (7.1 per cent) and United States (6.9 per cent).
Of the 28.5 per cent of golfers who visited Spain to play golf, just under half (12.7 per cent) opted for the Costa del Sol, with the Costa Brava region and the Canary Isles attracting 3.9 and 3.2 per cent, respectively – and 8.7 per cent travelling to other areas.
Noted IGTM exhibition manager Peter Grimster, “This latest study proves that Spain remains at the heart of the European golf tourism industry and illustrates why thousands of golfers still put its golfing regions at the top of their wish list.”
The Spanish study also revealed that a golfer’s nationality has an impact on the choice of region they are likely to visit: British and Scandinavian golfers prefer the Costa del Sol; French golfers are more likely to visit Costa Brava; and German golfers travel to all regions.
Other highlights of the research showed that:• The average duration for a Spanish golf trip is seven nights. • Golf visitors to Spain predominantly stay in four and five-star accommodation. • Visiting golfers spend between €170 (British) to €230 (Scandinavians) per day. • Golfers arrange between five and six rounds of golf during each Spanish holiday. • During the course of a week’s holiday, golfers play up to four different Spanish courses.
Added Peter Grimster, “As Spain is the host country for this year’s IGTM we will, of course, be welcoming a host of representatives from across the country, including 100 resorts, clubs and tourist boards, showcasing the country’s finest golf spots including host destination Cataluña, as well as Andalucía and the Balearic and Canary Islands.” The Catalan region of Costa Daurada is rapidly boosting its reputation as a golf destination. Three years ago, less than two per cent of total rounds played on the Costa Daurada were by international golfers: today, that ratio has increased to 30 per cent and continues to grow.