BTA seeks to increase Island’s share of golf tourism market
Tourism chiefs have unveiled an ambitious drive to double the rounds of golf played in Bermuda.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) wants the number of rounds to increase from 50,000 to 100,000 over the next five years in a bid to boost tourism, particularly in the winter months, as part of a National Golf Tourism Action Plan.
A Bermuda Golf Advisory Board is to be set up to help develop Bermuda's image as a world-class golf destination. Among its first priorities is to help plan and set up the Bermuda Golf Experience and the Bermuda Destination Management Concierge Service.
The moves came after Bermuda's first golf advisory summit was held last month to identify opportunities to grow golf as a lure for visitors.
“The National Golf Tourism Action Plan is a key initiative under the BTA and it will leverage our resources and strong positioning as a golf destination to attract golf visitors to the Island and to effectively penetrate the golf tourism market,” said BTA CEO Bill Hanbury.
“Bermuda will promote its strong country heritage, spirit, safety, top-rated golf courses, quality golfing events and considerable recent investment in golf courses and resorts to position itself to capture a greater share of the golf tourism market.”
A total of 16 international golf experts, as well as 22 golf, hotel and tourism leaders from Bermuda, attended the summit.
The conference heard that golf tourism worldwide is worth more than $25 billion a year, with the US equating to 90 percent of global golf travel.
The summit was told that the Bermuda visitor is similar in age and income to the US golf traveller and that the business was a key component of improving the Island's shoulder season, one of the key objectives of the National Tourism Plan.
As part of the drive to increase golf tourism, an identifiable Bermuda golf brand will be created, together with a website to maximise awareness of the game on the Island.
Fairmont Bermuda regional sales and marketing director Shelly Meszoly said: “I believe that the plan generated from this event is going to enhance our efforts and mission to improve our golf destination business.”
The National Golf Tourism Action Plan also includes creating an advisory board to promote the golf experience on the Island and improve quality through a “golf tourism value chain”.
A central organisation for managing golf travel will also be set up, while efforts will be made to build a unique and competitive place in the golf tourism market.
It is hoped a co-ordinated effort will increase golf visitor expenditure.