The peak season has just begun for golf on the Costa del Sol, and the courses are already busy. Although the number of British visitors who come to play golf has dropped compared with the years before the pandemic, this has been partly offset by the unprecedented rise in golfers from Scandinavia and France and experts in the sector believe turnover this season could be even better than before the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
However, they are concerned about rising energy costs. The president of Añoreta Golf, Ángel Acha, poined out recently that the average cost of energy between June and September 2019 was 7,000 euros but this year the same period has cost around 25,000 euros.
Golf plays a key role in attracting year-round tourism to the area. Winter, which is low season for most tourism businesses, is high season for this sector and it attracts visitors who stay for longer and spend more. On average, each person who comes to play golf spends over 300 euros a day.
The countdown has also begun for a major golfing event: the Solheim Cup, the biggest tournament in the world for women’s golf. This will take place at Finca Cortesín in Casares in September 2023 and is expected to have an economic impact of 235 million euros. Like the Ryder Cup, it brings together the best golfers from Europe and the USA.
The Costa del Sol Tourist Board has just begun a campaign to promote the Solheim Cup, and CEO Margarita del Cid has said the aim is to make the area known worldwide, not only as a holiday destination in general but also for golf tourism.
The Junta de Andalucía’s general secretary for Tourism, Yolanda de Aguilar, has also stressed that the regional government sees golf as a priority in its promotion strategy, because of its ability to attract foreign clients and its contribution to year-round, high quality tourism. “We have the best facilities in continental Europe and the top 10 in the world. The Solheim Cup is going to mark a before and after in the strategic approach to golf in Spain and in Andalucía” she said.
Another positive aspect in the short term is the recent announcement that United Airlines will run direct flights between New York and Malaga three times a week next summer. Professionals in the sector say this will be a major boost for the region because the USA is the biggest source market for golf tourists in the world.