Tourism Northern Ireland has unveiled a new golf strategy that it believes can help grow the revenue created by the game to £50m per annum by 2020.
Golf tourism currently generates £33m each year for the local economy, with its importance lying in attracting high spending visitors and dispersing their spending power throughout the visitor economy. Research suggests that, for every £1 spent on green fees, a further £4 is spent elsewhere in the country.
"Northern Ireland is where golf champions are born and play" - Arlene Foster
Arlene Foster, the first minister of Northern Ireland, said at the launch of the new plan: “The vision of the strategy is to grow the value of golf tourism to £50m per annum by 2020 and, in doing so, to remind golfers worldwide that Northern Ireland is where golf champions are born and play.
“As a sport, as a business and as a tourism asset, golf operates on a worldwide scale, so there has never been a better time for Northern Ireland, the home of champions, to formulate a new strategy to tap into its potential.
“The continuing success of our golfers, the acknowledged quality of our courses and the widespread support for the game, exemplified by the unprecedented sell-out of the Irish Open in 2012, have combined to enhance Northern Ireland’s status as an exceptional golf destination.”
Foster believes Northern Ireland’s golfing pedigree has been enhanced through holding another Irish Open sell-out at Royal County Down this year, while there is also the prospect of hosting the Open Championship in the country before the end of the decade.
She added: “I am determined to see Northern Ireland tourism grow to become £1billion industry by 2020 and, as golf is integral to achieving this objective, I see this strategy from Tourism NI as both timely and welcome.”