Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing has today welcomed the launch of a new collaborative golf tourism strategy, designed to unify Scotland’s approach to golf tourism.
“Driving Forward Together” is the first national strategy that has been developed by both the golf tourism industry and the public sector working in partnership for the benefit of golf tourism businesses in Scotland.
It signals an intent to capitalise on major events being held in Scotland during the next few years, including The 2014 Ryder Cup and The Open Championship in 2015 and 2016, with the aim of enhancing Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf and becoming the world’s leading golf destination by 2020.
The strategy has been developed to build on the strong foundations of activity from the industry, governing bodies and the public sector. As a result of implementing the strategy, it is hoped to grow the industry’s current £220 million annual value to the Scottish economy by 20 per cent to around £300 million annually by 2020.
The document, which is published today and will be launched in front of more than 75 attendees at Murrayshall Hotel and Golf Courses in Perthshire, sets out seven key objectives which have been identified and agreed by the golf tourism industry through a series of workshops held throughout the country over the past 12 months.
A key strand to the strategy is unifying the golf tourism sector in a Team Scotland approach - meaning all partners work together towards a common goal - and modernising the approach taken by many businesses to marketing, promotion and customer service.
The seven key objectives in the strategy are:
1. Collectively and consistently brand and promote Scotland as “The Home of Golf”
2. Encourage an evidence-based approach by gathering quality visitor data, sharing market intelligence, best practice and research findings with industry
3. Strengthen industry leadership and engagement
4. Co-ordinated regional golf development groups
5. Improve the quality of the golf tourism experience to boost reputation, increase visitor numbers, spend and repeat visits
6. Maximise the impact and tourism opportunities from hosting major golf events
7. Promote sustainable golf club and course management
Mr Ewing, who also provides the foreword to the strategy, said: “Golf in Scotland has never been more in the spotlight thanks to an envied schedule of world-class events taking place at the Home of Golf. These events are played on many of the world’s top ranked golf courses but Scotland also has many hidden gems too, giving golfers of all levels a variety of courses to play.
“These events, including the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, bring with them a terrific opportunity to highlight Scotland to hundreds of millions of potential visitors worldwide and to grow what is already a hugely important sector in terms of income generation for Scotland.
“To fully take advantage of these opportunities we need a co-ordinated and unified approach to golf tourism, and that’s why I’m delighted to welcome the Driving Forward Together strategy.
“The collaborative approach between various organisations in pulling this strategy together is exactly what Scotland’s golf tourism sector requires and demonstrates that we are all working towards one single aim – to make Scotland the must-visit destination for every golfer.”
Stewart Walker, chairman of industry-body Golf Tourism Scotland (GTS), said: “There is no doubt that the golf tourism industry in Scotland already has the greatest collection of assets anywhere in the world as well as an enviable history and heritage in the game.
“What this strategy is designed to achieve is ensuring all partners involved in growing the golf tourism industry are working together in order to sell and market Scotland as the Home of Golf to its full potential.
“Each partner involved in the strategy brings an area of expertise to the table and together we can ensure that Scotland is known as the must-visit golf destination in the world and grow the value of the industry to the economy of Scotland.”
Organisations involved in developing the strategy include GTS, VisitScotland, EventScotland, the Scottish Golf Union (SGU), Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA), Scottish Enterprise, and Highland & Islands Enterprise. The launch follows an exhaustive consultation exercise to ensure that Scotland’s Golf Tourism industry had it’s say in setting our future priorities.
The development of the strategy is part of Scotland’s commitments as host nation of The 2014 Ryder Cup, in order to deliver a lasting legacy to the country’s tourism industry long after the event.