Fáilte Ireland welcomed 50 international golf tour operators to the Slieve Russell Hotel Golf & Country Club in County Cavan on Monday September 19 for the first in-person golf tourism convention in two years.
The convention, organized in partnership with the IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), is a sales event allowing overseas golf operators to meet directly with Irish suppliers to the golf industry to negotiate business at the abroad for years to come. Over 80 representatives from the Irish golf industry attended, including suppliers from Northern Ireland who were recruited in partnership with Tourism Northern Ireland.
The event is part of Fáilte Ireland’s efforts to drive demand for golf tourism in 2023 and beyond. The international buyers attending this year’s convention represent some of the largest producers of golf businesses as well as those with the greatest potential to develop golf tourism in Ireland. They have been selected from major golf tourism markets and emerging markets, including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. Tourism Ireland, which promotes Ireland as an overseas holiday destination, is also present at the conference.
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The two-day trade event kicked off on Monday, September 19 with a golf tournament at the PGA National-accredited Slieve Russell Hotel Golf & Country Club. The one-day workshop will take place today (Tuesday 20 September) and will facilitate over 1700 face-to-face meetings between Irish suppliers and international tour operators.
Following the two-day convention, tour operators will take part in a familiarization trip to experience some of Ireland’s best courses through the island’s four program brands, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin .
Speaking of the importance of golf tourism in Ireland, Martin Donnelly, Head of Golf Tourism Development at Fáilte Ireland, said: “With Ireland’s world-class golf product, experienced Irish golf buyers and a motivated and competent industry, golf tourism will play an important role. help support tourism to rebound quickly. In 2019, Ireland welcomed over 221,000 visitors whose main purpose of travel was a golf holiday, and they spent €300 million on the local economy. As such, golf is seen as a fundamental lever to boost Ireland. the tourism industry is returning to pre-COVID performance levels and beyond. Due to pent-up demand from 2020 and 2021, our golf tourism pipeline is very strong for this year and is expected to continue into 2023. However, Ireland will continue to rely on overseas based tour operators to help us communicate the benefits of traveling to Ireland to play golf among their customers and that is why this convention is such an important platform to develop their understanding of what Ireland has to offer.”
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton added, “After two years apart, this week’s Golf Tourism Convention and associated inspection trips will be instrumental not only in bringing the two sides together again of the golf tourism industry, but also to showcase the significant investments and developments that have taken place or are underway throughout the country. The convention represents a unique opportunity for hotels, golf courses and other suppliers to the golf tourism industry to pitch to key golf tour operator decision makers from all key markets who are responsible for driving golf tourism in Ireland Deals will be signed and the customer experience enhanced , as a direct result of this week’s interactions.”
© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to subscribe to the Hospitality Ireland printed edition.