New Fáilte Ireland research shows golf to the fore in delivering tourism revenue

New Fáilte Ireland research shows golf to the fore in delivering tourism revenue

Research shows potential of ‘Playcations’ as Ireland gears up for 2013 Irish Open

New Fáilte Ireland research today revealed that the golf sector provides a total overseas spend of €202m for the Irish economy.  The analysis of the value and profile of overseas golf visitors to Ireland shows, with 163,000 having played golf while in Ireland in 2012, that each overseas golf tourist is worth €1200 to the economy (two and a half times that of the average tourist).

Completed as Ireland once more gears up to host the Irish Open in June, the research also shows that Ireland is hitting the mark on both satisfaction levels and value for money for our overseas guests – with satisfaction rates at 94% and value for money at 83%.  

Commenting on the findings, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said -

“Ireland has some fantastic golf courses but we want to be the best in the world. That’s why we have been working hard to raise standards even higher within the golf sector, and ensure that every single golfer who comes to Ireland has an outstanding experience. The findings show that we are getting results.

“Golf is already an important part of the tourism industry, and there’s room to increase revenue further. Ireland also has fabulous scenery, culture, some outstanding golf links with magnificent sea views, and our world-famous charm at the 19th hole. So Fáilte Ireland is working closely with the golf sector to build further on our success rate.”

Other interesting points from the research include –

  • Golfing visitors are much more likely to be repeat visitors and those who return are also very likely to play again;
  •  Amongst overseas golfers, North Americans are the biggest spenders with an average per capita spend of roughly €1,800;
  • Approximately 21% of expenditure by overseas golfers is spent on green fees or other golf-related expenditure. This means that ancillary spend by golf tourists to Ireland benefits many other sectors, including accommodation, bars, restaurants and attractions;
  • As well as being a valuable sector, Golf tourism has also been outperforming the general tourism market in recent years, averaging 6% growth per annum between 2009 and 2012;
  • Overseas golfers are overwhelmingly male and affluent, with 90% being men and belonging to the affluent, white collar ABC1 socio-economic group;
  • In terms of age, 93% of golfers are over 35 years old, with half aged between 45-64 years old;
  • Golfing visitors to Ireland are more likely to be travelling with friends (44%) or as a couple (28%);
  • North Americans and mainland Europeans are more likely to travel in groups of peers, while British golfers are more likely to travel with a spouse or partner;
  • Ireland’s golfing tourists are also avid golfers, with nearly almost 90% describing golf as important and over 60% claiming that golf was ‘extremely important’ in their choice of holiday.

Crucially considering the last point, Ireland continues to utilise high-profile events to showcase its golfing product and is currently getting ready to welcome the worlds golfing stars to Carton House for the Irish Open taking place from 27 – 30th June.

As part of the lead-up to the event, Fáilte Ireland has developed a digital and social media campaign promoting the Irish Open and the wider golf experience available in Ireland. This includes a specially commissioned ‘Greening in the Years’ video that highlights the great history and golden moments of past Irish Opens.(View the 'Greening in the Years' video here).  It is hoped the video piece will evoke great memories with viewers encouraged to share their favourite Irish Open moment through a one-liner, an image or a video across our social media platforms.
Anticipating this June’s Irish Open, Ireland’s Official Golf Ambassador, Padraig Harrington said -

“I am eagerly looking forward to the 2013 Irish Open at Carton House for what promises to be a great weekend of golf.

“The ‘Greening in the Years’ video has reminded me of so many golden moments of the Irish Open. My most special memory is when I holed the winning putt at Adare Manor in 2007. The setting was magnificent, the atmosphere generated by the home crowd was fantastic and having my family there made it extra special.”

Tony Lenehan, Head of Golf Tourism at Fáilte Ireland added -
“Forget about ‘staycations’, we believe that there is great potential in ‘playcations’. As our research shows, golf is an important part of our tourism offering and a lucrative part at that. This year’s Irish Open will be the perfect opportunity for us to advertise to international and domestic golfers just what a great place Ireland can be to play and stay.”

Follow us on Twitter @Fáilte_Ireland



For further information please contact:

Louise Tolerton - Press Officer
086 6086578/01 8847135

Note for Editor

Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism development authority, was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy.

The tourism and hospitality industry employs an estimated 185,000 people and generates almost €5.7 billion in revenue a year.
Golf in Ireland

As the national tourism authority, Fáilte Ireland continues to invest in the development and promotion of the golf product.  Padraig Harrington is Ireland’s face for golf tourism - continuing to be at the forefront of Irish golf promotion overseas and helping to promote Fáilte Ireland’s golf brand, Golf Ireland – ‘Time to Play’. 

Find out more about the Irish Open at

Get involved and join the Golf Conversation:

Twitter  #irishopen


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