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The latest instalment of Scottish Golf Tourism Week concluded in Inverness last night with predictions that this year’s meeting of suppliers and tour operators will bring golfers to the home of golf from more countries than ever before.

Brought to the Highlands in partnership with local newspaper The Press and Journal, 90 tour operators representing a record 40 countries spent the week visiting courses around Scotland and taking part in over 3,500 face-to-face appointments as they planned itineraries for visiting golfers this year and beyond.

Organised by DC Thomson and supported by the Highland Council, Visit Inverness Loch Ness, Highland and Islands Enterprise, and VisitScotland, deals done during the week bring an estimated 50,000 golfers to Scotland each year, hugely benefitting local economies.

Having been staged in St Andrews since 2016, the six-day annual event relocated to Inverness for the first time this year, basing itself at the city’s Kingsmills Hotel in association with Good Highland Food.

The decision to move the event from its Fife home was taken to make it easier for north-east suppliers, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to access global buyers.

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Next year, the event will continue to showcase more of Scotland’s golf regions and support local businesses and communities, with Aberdeen announced as the 2025 host city announced as Aberdeen in partnership with The P&J.

The week concluded with the prestigious Scottish Golf Tourism Awards, held at the at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre near Inverness. Presented in association with Luxe Scot, the awards saw St Andrews’ Connoisseur Golf picking up Best Tour Operator for a second year running.

A total of 15 awards were handed out at a gala dinner attended by over 500 people to celebrate the clubs, hotels and experiences that have helped shape Scotland’s reputation as a world-class golfing destination.

Clubs across the north-east did particularly well with Royal Dornoch winning the award for best course in the over £250 category, Cruden Bay near Peterhead winning the £150-£250 category, and Fortrose & Rosemarkie winning the under £100 group.

A high point of the night was a standing ovation for Gary Wilkinson, the former chairman of the Scottish Inbound Golf Tour Operators Association who received a special recognition award for his unwavering contributions to the golf industry.

Andy Williams, chief revenue officer at DC Thomson, remarked: “It has been very motivating to see the positivity and optimism this week as Scotland’s golf industry has been proudly showing off to the world what makes this country so special.

“We organise Scottish Golf Tourism Week as it really makes a difference to local suppliers. The average benefit for each business taking part is projected to be in excess of £215,000 in the three years following the event, which is just extraordinary.

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“The economic benefits go beyond that, and it’s estimated that Scottish Golf Tourism Week contributes an estimated £3million to the local economy, highlighting the vital role that golf tourism plays in supporting businesses and community development across Scotland.

“DC Thomson’s purpose is to champion the communities we serve. A growing and innovating Scottish golf sector will create jobs and opportunities in our communities, and the more people playing the sport the more opportunity for our local news titles and brands like bunkered to power them on that journey.”

The full list of winners at this year’s Scottish Golf Tourism Awards are:

• Best Budget Friendly Hotel (3 Star or Equivalent)
Red House Hotel

• Best Premium Hotel (4 Star or Equivalent)
Dundonald Links

• Best Luxury Hotel (5 Star or Equivalent)
Gleneagles Hotel

• Best Exclusive Use Venue
Fenton Tower

• Best Course Under £100
Fortrose & Rosemarkie Golf Links

• Best Course £100 – £250
Cruden Bay Golf Club

• Best Course Over £250
Royal Dornoch Golf Club

• Best 9-Hole Course
Durness Golf Club

• Best Clubhouse
Dumbarnie Golf Links

• Best Pro Shop
Carnoustie Golf Links

• Best Sustainability Project
St Andrews Links Trust

• Best Golf Marketing Campaign
Bonnie Wee Golf

• Best Tour Operator
Connoisseur Golf

• Special Recognition Award
Gary Wilkinson

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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