Around 530,000 people visited Andalucía for 'golf tourism' in 2016. The figures were announced on Monday at the Real Valderrama golf course in the lead up to the Andalucía masters tournament which will take place on 19 to 22 October.
Francisco Javier Fernández, the regional minister for Tourism and Sport spoke at the event. “This is the first time in history that more than half a million visitors have stayed in the region for golf-related tourism,” he said.
The sector is expecting even further growth this year as the new season gets under way. The minister for Tourism and Sport explained that having seen a 25% increase in visitors in the last five years, the industry is in very good shape. Andalucía is home to 102 golf courses, half of which are in Malaga province and 20% in the province of Cádiz, giving the Costa del Sol the highest concentration of courses in mainland Europe.
Golf clubs have indicated that they are expecting a further 5% rise in the number of visitors in this year's season.
The growth of golf is key for the region's tourism economy as a whole. Normally the average spend of a golf tourist exceeds that of conventional tourists. Francisco Fernández explained that golf tourists spend on average 117.5 euros per day, while conventional tourists have an average daily spend of around 65 euros. Not only do golf tourists spend more, but figures also suggest that their average stay is higher at around 10.8 days, roughly two days more than other tourists.
Fernández put the recent success of the sector down to “the improved organisation of events”. He also highlighted that with this has come greater consumer satisfaction with an average score of 9.2 out of 10, the highest-ever rating registered for the area.
It was announced at Valderrama on Monday that a further injection of money will be made into the industry. The package will aim in particular to reach out to golf organisers in a wider range of countries. Currently, of all the golf tourists visiting Andalucía, around 40% are from the United Kingdom, 15% are Spanish nationals and 12% are German. The package aims to diversify the market of which 68% is already dominated by just these three nations.
The Andalucía Masters next month is another boost to the already lucrative and growing golf industry. Fernández revealed that with TV rights sold across the globe, the competition may reach up to 400 million homes, many of which are situated in the vital golfing markets of the United Kingdom, France and the USA.