Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Welcomes International Golfers
As part of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s efforts to increase golf tourism in the area, Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey has enjoyed welcoming international golfers to the district during a busy month for golf.
On 19 and 20 July, Ardglass Golf Course hosted the first group of 120 Australian and North American visitors who were travelling with the Voyages Golf Touring Group. Playing the course at Ardglass was part of a golfing excursion throughout Ireland, including a day at the golf trials at The 148th Open at Royal Portrush.
A further 68 golfers from New Zealand and Australia visited on 22 and 23 July, organised through golf tour operator PaR n.z. While travelling the island of Ireland playing links courses, the visitors also attended The Open Portrush and with the assistance of the Council, visited Newry, Mourne and Down for the first time resulting in a number of stays in the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa and The Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle, while they played Ardglass and Royal County Down Golf Courses.
Both tour operators met with representatives from the Council at the North American Golf Tourism Convention (NAC) in Oregon in 2018. Each year Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, in partnership with the local golf industry, attends a number of international tourism events to capture tour operators from the global market. Council representatives returned to the NAC in Texas in June to not only market the district’s range of fabulous courses but promote the stunning destination and other tourism experiences the international visitor can pursue while in the area.
Chairperson, Councillor Charlie Casey said, “The Council has long seen the long-term benefits of attending international tourism events to promote our region to a global market and I am delighted to see dividends paying off.
“Newry, Mourne and Down has a strong golf product boasting numerous unique golf courses including Royal County Down, which is the number one golf course in the world. We continue to work with our golf courses to bring more golfers and visitors to our area and capitalise on the enormous success of The Open Championship. I am confident we will be welcoming more international golfing trips to Newry, Mourne and Down in the not so distant future as a result of our presence at these events.”
The importance of golf tourism lies in attracting high spending visitors. Research suggests that for every £1 spent on green fees in our region, a further £4 is spent in the local economy and that 60% of golf visitors like to include a visit to a tourist attraction when off-course.
Latest figures show that the economic impact of golf tourism has risen to almost £40 million in 2017, with a greater number of visitors than ever flying direct to play golf on courses across Northern Ireland. The estimated spend per golfer coming to Northern Ireland is around an average of £2,000 per trip when compared to the average visitor spend. This represents a very rewarding market.