Golf Ireland Convention Returns To NI

Golf Ireland Convention returned to Northern Ireland for the first time in four years to hear about the plans to further enhance the golf tourism sector ahead of the 153rd Open.

In the build up to The Open that will return to Royal Portrush in 2025, 40 international buyers from key golf markets such as North America, Great Britain, Europe and Asia were welcomed to the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Newcastle, County Down, before travelling to the North West for the official convention at the Ebrington Hotel.

In total, 80 golf providers including hotels, golf courses, transport providers and experiences took part in one-to-one appointments and a range of networking opportunities. The buyers also had the opportunity to play at a range of golf courses.

According to the Tourism NI report 'Golf Tourism in Northern Ireland: How the pandemic and recovery has impacted visitor golf' published in June, bookings made through tour operators last year were up 77 per cent on 2019 and the overall number of tee times booked by visitors was 30 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels.

Tourism NI Director of Events, Áine Kearney, said: "Golf tourism plays a crucial role in the overall reputation of Northern Ireland as a tourism destination on the global stage. Since successfully hosting The Open in 2019, visitors’ bookings have continued to rise at our golf clubs and are now 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

"In global terms, visitor green fee revenue increased by 153% in 2022 compared to 2019, with the vast majority of bookings coming through tour operators. With Royal Portrush set to host The 153rd Open in 2025, and the return of the Horizon Irish Open to Royal County Down next year, we are delighted to host the Golf Ireland Convention and showcase all that Northern Ireland has to offer to these important golf tour operators."

The tour operators are also planning for the Horizon Irish Open to return to Royal County Down in 2024.

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