Golf tourism in the Highlands is set for another boost with the staging of the Scottish Hydro Challenge at Spey Valley Golf Club in Aviemore this weekend.
Being played for the ninth straight year at Spey Valley, part of the Macdonald Aviemore Highlands Resort, the Scottish Hydro Challenge is one of the most high profile events on the European Tour’s Challenge Tour Series.
It has produced some of the most notable winners on the Challenge Tour including European Tour star Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnstone and the current US Open champion Brooks Koepka. A whole host of up and coming stars, including Scotland’s Grant Forrest and Ewen Ferguson, will take to the fairways helping to shine a light on the region as a growing golf tourism destination.
A recent study commissioned by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise revealed that golf tourism is worth in excess of £23 million annually to the Highlands’ economy, directly supporting 643 jobs.
The region has enjoyed an enhanced profile in recent years thanks to the development of new courses, such as Spey Valley and Castle Stuart, and the staging of major events such as the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open which has been held at Castle Stuart four times in the last six years. Combined with the reputation of world-renowned courses such as Royal Dornoch and Nairn, the Highlands is now firmly established as a popular golf tourism destination in Scotland, the Home of Golf.
Golf tourism is a major economic driver for Scotland with golf visitors from overseas spending on average more than 4 times that of a regular visitor. The recent study also found that 34 per cent of overnight golf tourists to the Highlands came from overseas, which is higher than the national average of 31 per cent. A further 21 per cent of golf tourists came from the rest of the UK with 45 from within Scotland on a domestic golfing break.
The Scottish Hydro Challenge is part of a world-class portfolio of annual golf events supported in Scotland by the EventScotland team within VisitScotland’s events directorate. The support of golf events is a key strand of Scotland’s National Events Strategy, The Perfect Stage and brings numerous economic, marketing and social benefits to the country.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“We are delighted to once again support the Scottish Hydro Challenge through our EventScotland team and to see it return to Aviemore for the ninth consecutive year. Events such as this and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Castle Stuart last year help to keep the Highlands firmly on the golf tourism map.
“For every £1 spent by a golfing visitor on green fees, £5 is spent elsewhere across the visitor economy in shops, restaurants and bars which highlights the importance of golf tourism to regional economies.”
The study into the Value of Golf Tourism to Scotland’s Economy was conducted by Progressive Partnership and SQW. More details, including regional breakdowns, can be found by visiting: http://www.visitscotland.org/research_and_statistics/tourism_sectors/golf.aspx