Golf tourism worth €300m a year to Irish economy

Fáilte Ireland research shows that a golf visitor typically spends three times more than the average leisure tourist.

As the 2023 Horizon Irish Open gets underway today (7 September) at the K-Club, Fáilte Ireland is using the tournament as a platform to showcase Ireland as a world-class golfing destination.

The tourism body is also promoting the rich cultural heritage of Ireland’s Ancient East. At least 115 of Ireland’s 400 golf courses are in this region of the country.

“Golf drives tourism revenue and sustains employment into areas that might otherwise not benefit from tourism to Ireland”

Up to 80,000 golf fans will attend the K-Club over the four-day event to watch the world’s best golfers tackle the Ryder Cup Palmer North course. 

A driver for the business of golf

Fáilte Ireland will host up to 40 Irish golf-related businesses including golf clubs and hotels from across the country at the tournament providing them with a unique opportunity to engage face to face with both domestic and overseas golf fans and encourage them to take a golf holiday in Ireland.

“Golf is an area that Fáilte Ireland supports and invests in as a key tourism driver for both international and domestic audiences, with the island of Ireland considered one of the top destinations for golfers worldwide,” said Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly.

“This week’s event will be broadcast in over 160 countries via traditional outlets like Sky Sports and NBC Golf Channel and online streaming, reaching over 300, viewers worldwide in the process, showing Ireland as an ideal destination for golfers.

“Our research shows a golf visitor typically spends three times more than the average leisure tourist with most of the spend going directly into local economies on non-golf expenditure such as accommodation, transport and food and beverage. Golf drives tourism revenue and sustains employment into areas that might otherwise not benefit from tourism to Ireland. Ireland’s Ancient East is a great example of how golf tourism drives tourism business right across the island, with 115 of the Ireland’s 400 course located in the region.”

Fáilte Ireland is undertaking a range of publicity activity for Ireland’s Ancient East as it hosts three major international events this summer, including the Irish Legends event which took place in Seapoint Golf Links and the Irish Challenge which took place in Headfort. 

Together with Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland will host top international golf media at the Horizon Irish Open with a global reach of millions.

“We were delighted to invite these leading international golf journalists to attend this year’s Horizon Irish Open and to experience some of our wonderful golf courses and visitor attractions in Ireland’s Ancient East,” said Siobhan McManamy, Tourism Ireland’s interim chief executive.

“Their visit is a good opportunity to showcase our fantastic golf offering to a wide audience of prospective overseas golf holidaymakers for Ireland.

“Golf is the world’s largest sports-related travel market and Tourism Ireland is working hard to drive home the message that a golfing holiday in Ireland is about much more than a round of 18 holes – the combination of our world-class golf and our unique brand of hospitality plays a key role in attracting overseas golfers. We’re also taking every opportunity to highlight the fact that The Open will return to Royal Portrush in 2025 and the Ryder Cup will take place at Adare Manor in 2027.”

Fáilte Ireland is also working with the event broadcasters of the Horizon Irish Open to demonstrate the breadth of visitor attractions and activities across the Ireland’s Ancient East region to a global audience. 

“The scale and significance of hosting events such as this cannot be underestimated,” said Brian O’Flynn, head of Ireland’s Ancient East at Fáilte Ireland.

“While golf is the key product area, the destination is core to the overall enjoyment and experience of any visit. The Horizon Irish Open, together with the Irish Legends event in Seapoint and the Irish Challenge event in Headfort Golf Club that took place earlier in the year, will generate considerable TV coverage. This allows Fáilte Ireland to tell the story of golf in Ireland’s Ancient East, as well all the other wonderful aspects of the region that come together with the golf, to make it a world class destination.”

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