The global golf tourism market is expected to grow consistently over the next decade or so, rising on the back of many destinations adding golf tournaments to attract golfers from around the world as well as by a growing interest in golf as an activity during the vacation. These are the findings of a study released by global market research firm, Future Market Insights.
The report says that the global golf tourism market size is expected to achieve a remarkable valuation of USD 23.1 billion in 2023. It is anticipated to reach a market valuation of USD 40.4 billion by the end of the forecast period while exhibiting a CAGR of 5.8 pc from 2023 to 2033.
The growth of the global market is primarily fuelled by the rising number of international and domestic tournaments across the globe, substantial spending on the set-up of enhanced sporting infrastructure, and a massive rise in the number of professional and amateur golf players across the globe, says FMI in the report. In addition, sports authorities and governments across the globe are organising domestic and international golf tournaments and making heavy investments to attract golfers and expand the local economy.
For instance, in August 2022, the Canadian Federal Government announced USD 4.4 million investment in Golf Canada’s two professional tournaments named as RBC Canadian Open and CP Women’s Open to promote golf participation, create important economic benefits, and attract tourists across the region.
The report says that while the Covid-19 pandemic hampered the industry which resulted in a significant decline in the number of golf travellers. It says that as per statistics published by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer, the pandemic caused an estimated loss of around USD 1.30 trillion in export revenues, and Asia Pacific suffered the highest level of impact due to the strict travel restrictions.
However, golf tourism destinations continued to regain their lost territory after the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in various countries in Asia and Africa. In addition, a focus on sports tourism is expected to provide the struggling tourism industry a much-needed push after being battered for almost two years by Covid-19 limitations as APAC countries welcomed international visitors.
To increase their visibility to sports tourists seeking comprehensive services as well as enrichment, businesses in the golf tourism sector should put a high priority on creating all-inclusive, integrated experiences.
Increasing interest in outdoor sporting events, government funding & measures to promote sports tourism and growth in the number of young golfers are anticipated to make a profound impact on the global industry and offer tour operators opportunities to enter untapped markets. The growth is also expected to be fueled by the growing government support for the industry.
The FMI report says that several governments are marketing sports vacation spots to local and foreign travellers to grow their foreign exchange earnings through the growth of the specialty market and consequently support economic development. Governments across the globe are now keen to utilize the industry’s true potential given the popularity and future growth possibilities of this sport.
With the rising purchasing power of people and the increase in the number of professional tournaments, golf is no longer considered just a rich man’s sport.
Growing interest in outdoor sporting events, government funding & measures to promote sports tourism, and growth in the number of young golfers are anticipated to make a profound impact on the global industry and offer tour operators an opportunity to enter untapped markets, says FMI, adding that for instance, in August 2022, in Scotland, a new Golfing Tourism Development was launched, directed by the Scottish Golf Tourism Development Group (SGTDG). With a major focus on community engagement and improving health and well-being, and developing opportunities for young people, this initiative is anticipated to help, support and shape the future of the industry in the forthcoming years.
Such initiatives are anticipated to create growth opportunities for numerous industries, including lodging, tour operators, and travel agencies. An increase in professional female golfers has emerged as one of the major trends across the globe. This trend is anticipated to have a potential impact on the global market and consequently fuel its growth. To cater to this trend, sports companies and government authorities across the globe are launching female tours to increase the participation of women in golf.
One of the key factors propelling the golf tourism market is the growing emphasis on golf infrastructure worldwide. Even though golf courses are concentrated in the top 20 golfing countries, their number is steadily increasing around the world. In 2020, there were approximately 38,000 golf courses available around the world. However, most of these facilities are in Australia, Canada, England, Japan, and the US, which are among the top ten golfing countries in the world. In addition, most of these facilities are in private clubs, golf resorts, and golf-centric real estate, making them inaccessible to the general public.
North America accounted for roughly half of the total global golf course supply, followed by Europe, with about a quarter and Asia also roughly a quarter. Furthermore, around 670 golf courses are either being built or are in the planning stages. Asia, Europe, and North America account for nearly 80 pc of all golf courses currently being built or planned. The expansion of golf courses in these regions will expand the golf tourism market in these areas, resulting in significant growth in the global golf tourism market over the forecast period.
FMI says that golf tourism could face some threats, notably from a fantasy sport, also known as rotisserie or roto, which is an online game in which players create virtual and imaginary teams made up of real players. These virtual teams compete in real-life games, based on the statistical performance of the selected players. Over the last 5-6 years, fantasy golf games have witnessed a significant increase in popularity. Furthermore, fantasy golf has grown in popularity at a time when the real game’s popularity is fading. However, the rising popularity of fantasy golf has resulted in increased revenue for fantasy golf service and interface providers.
In addition, to help the popularity of fantasy golf, young enthusiasts are trying to engage in the sport with the help of technology. The average age of fantasy golf participants is 34, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), making the platform ideal and suitable for promoting the sport among young people. However, the dramatic rise in the popularity of fantasy golf among the young generation can only mean that more potential players will be driven away from the real game, which will hamper the golf tourism market during the forecast period.