Fáilte Ireland tries to tee up Asian golf market by hosting tour operators from the East

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Fáilte Ireland is teaming up with the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) and Tourism Ireland in a bid to lure Asian golfers to Ireland. A group of tour operators from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Korea are being accompanied by a representative from Golf Digest China which has a monthly circulation of 450,000.

As part of its approach post-Brexit to seek greater growth and diversification, Fáilte Ireland is  targeting overseas markets that it believes have a potential to deliver increased golf business to Ireland.

Asian tour operators at Waterville Golf Club, Kerry, with Paul Mockler, Fáilte Ireland, (back row 3rd left), Noel Cronin, Manager Waterville Golf Club (far right Standing), Áine Mangan, IAGTO, International Association of Golf Tour Operators. Photo: :Valerie O’Sullivan

Asian tour operators at Waterville Golf Club, Kerry, with Paul Mockler, Fáilte Ireland, (back row, third left), Noel Cronin, Manager Waterville Golf Club (far right) and Áine Mangan, IAGTO, International Association of Golf Tour Operators. Photo: Valerie O’Sullivan

Globally, according to IAGTO, golf tour operator sales continued to grow last year, making 2016 the fifth year of consecutive growth – with sales on average up 7.5pc year on year. Regionally, Asia Pacific grew 6.2pc last year and Asia Pacific is showing the highest growth rate amongst all regions for forward bookings – showing growth of 8.2pc in January 2017 compared to the previous year.

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Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said: “Our own research shows that the golf sector currently generates a total overseas spend of €200m for the Irish economy with more than 160,000 international visitors playing golf while in Ireland last year. When you consider that each golfing visitor is worth on average €1,200 to the economy – two and a half times that of the average tourist – and the existing potential to grow this market further, then this week’s showcase of Irish golf makes perfect sense.

The visiting group’s itinerary includes golfing at the K Club Palmer Course and the Portmarnock Golf Club in the east as well as a visit along the Wild Atlantic Way where they get to play at Lahinch Golf Club, the Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg, Waterville Golf Course, Killarney Golf Club and Fota Island Golf Club.

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