Jan 24th, 2018
Scottish golf riding high in the US
Golf tourism businesses in Scotland target US visitors
There were more visits by US consumers to Scotland in the first nine months of 2017 than in the whole of 2016 according to new research, indicating continued growth from the US market and underlining its importance to Scotland’s visitor economy.
The International Passenger Survey (IPS) shows that in Q1-Q3 of 2017, almost 468,000 visits were made by from the US to Scotland compared with 451,000 in the whole of 2016 and 409,000 in 2015*.
This popularity of Scotland with Americans also extends to the country as a golf destination with research showing that 30 per cent of all overnight golf visitors to Scotland are from the North American market – more than double the numbers coming from continental Europe (14 per cent)*.
The news comes as VisitScotland, the country’s national tourism organisation, and investment body Scottish Development International are leading a delegation of 15 Scottish businesses from across the country to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando to engage with more than 40,000 PGA professionals, media, tour operators and industry influencers.
The PGA Merchandise Show is the world’s biggest annual gathering of golf industry professionals, providing an exciting opportunity for Scottish golf tourism business looking to attract visitors from one of Scotland’s key inbound markets.
A diverse range of Scottish businesses, including tour operators, regional marketing groups, accommodation providers and manufacturers are attending under the Scotland, the Home of Golf banner looking to capitalise on the continued growth and popularity of Scotland within the US market.
Generating in excess of £286 million per year, golf tourism is a vital part of Scotland’s visitor economy and one of the key drivers for US visitors thanks to Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf, as well as huge exposure through the hosting of major golf events such as The Open, The 2014 Ryder Cup, the Ricoh Women’s British Open and many others.
US golfers are particularly important to golf tourism in Scotland with the typical North American visitor spending on average £405 per day, staying for 10.3 days and playing eight rounds of golf. This compares with the average overnight golf visitor to Scotland who are more likely to take shorter breaks of less than four nights, spending around £245 per day.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“We know that the American market has long been a key one for tourism in Scotland but the phenomenal increase in the number of trips in 2016 and 2017 alongside the extremely strong golf tourism spend by US visitors outlines just how important a market it is.
“Scotland’s reputation internationally as the Home of Golf Is obviously a strong draw for American visitors looking for the authentic golf experience that you only get in the country where the game began. The strong growth can also be attributed to other factors including increased capacity on air routes, a favourable exchange rate and the exposure afforded to Scotland through hosting of major golf events shown live on US television such as The Open.
“I’m delighted to once again see such a strong delegation of Scottish businesses at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando as Scotland looks to cement its position as a world-leading golf destination and a favourite of US travellers.”
In 2018 Scotland will continue to be the focus of the world’s golfing attention when it hosts a world-class portfolio of golf events, including The 147th Open at Carnoustie, The Senior Open Championship at St Andrews and the Aberdeen Standard Investments men’s and ladies Scottish Opens at Gullane. And in 2019 Gleneagles will once again play host to a biennial tussle between America and Europe’s finest when The Solheim Cup is played at the venue almost five years to the day after The 2014 Ryder Cup.