The latest research figures from KPMG show that the number one destination for golfers from Europe and the rest of the world is still the Costa del Sol. This is backed up by the leading tourist operators in those countries where golf is a prime sport. These include of course England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland followed by Germany, Sweden, Denmark and then France.

Golf is very much a personalised business and although the main tour operators such as Thomas Cook, Thompson, Cosmos and First Choice appear to be the main carriers, this is no longer the case. More and more, people are turning to the smaller independent specialised golf concerns that know the Costa del Sol and can answer any queries that clients may have. They also have a real passion for the destination and this is transmitted to their clientele. There are now over 200 smaller specialist operators that offer the perfect golf package.

The marked change within the market in the last 10 years, has seen a decline in mass tourism and an increase in people travelling with these smaller operators. From accounting for well over 60% of the market a decade ago, the share of the large tour operators has now dropped to around 40% or less. The positive news surrounding these facts is that the Spanish golf market is growing with a year on percentage increase of around nine percent keeping it at the forefront of desirable destinations.

Costa del Sol Golf

Coupled with this is the new way of booking golf vacations. Most are now undertaken through the Internet, websites or by telephone, reflecting the fact that the average golfer expects that personal touch. Improved online booking systems as well as the myriad of smart phone and iPad tablets being used, all point to the fact that most bookings in the future will be undertaken digitally.

One thing is for sure is that if the golfing fraternity are continuously looked after in a professional and courteous manner, then there is no reason why southern Spain will continue to be the prime destination for them. Ranking second to the Costa del Sol is the Algarve in Portugal. However, new developing countries who recognise the importance of golf to their tourist portfolio, are rapidly developing resorts designed to compete with the best to be found in Spain. However, golf course design and hotels are only half the answer. The appeal of the golfing scene on the Costa del Sol is the result of years of, not just developing the right mix of accommodation and golf courses. But also the ambience of great food locations, the blend of many cosmopolitan influences, the backdrop of some of the most beautiful landscapes to be found globally and the friendliness of the local people, all contributing to the relaxed feeling of just being in the right place.

Further contributing factors is the value for money feeling from the excellent prices to be found right along the coast. Couple that with the sixty six superb golf courses waiting to be discovered and there really is no competition to the sheer variety of positive reasons why southern Spain is aptly named the Costa del Golf and remains the favourite destination for golfers.

Another survey which reflects these new waves of thinking was commissioned by Reed Travel, owned by IGTM, the world’s largest provider of exhibitions. From this it was deduced that for golfers residing in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Germany, Scandinavia and France, it found that the three most influential reasons for golfers choosing the Costa del Sol were friends recommendations, the small specialist golf operator and thirdly, golf magazines. All showing an extremely positive signs for a particularly healthy future for golf in Spain and in particular, the Costa del Sol.

 

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