London, England: The growth of golf tour operator sales continued steadily in the third quarter of 2017, according to the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
In its latest Quarterly Golf Tourism Survey, IAGTO reported an increase of 4.0% year-on-year worldwide. Forward bookings were also looking healthy as of October 1, up 6.0% year-on-year, the association said.
IAGTO has conducted a Quarterly Golf Tourism Survey since 2015 with data collected from more than 900 golf tour operators, golf resorts, golf courses and hotels around the world.
Year-on-year changes in sales or visitor arrivals is collected together with the status of forward bookings at the end of the Quarter.
In outbound sales, the United States led the way in the third quarter of 2017, enjoying 8.4% growth followed by Asia which was up 6.9%.
Golf tour operators in Europe saw growth average out at 4.4% with Italy shining brightly, up 12.4%, Scandinavia, up 8.0% and France, up 7.4%.
Eastern European operators saw sales increase by 6.6%, Ireland by 6.1% and the United Kingdom closer to the norm at 4.8%.
Germany, Austria and Switzerland all reported a drop in sales year-on-year, while Australia saw outbound sales grow by 2.2%.
Suppliers (golf resorts, golf courses and hotels) also reported that sales were up in the third quarter of 2017 by a global average of 4.5% with forward bookings also being a healthy 3.7% ahead of the same time last year.
European and Asian golf destinations reported sales rising by 5.6% in the third quarter with similar projections for forward bookings, but golf visitors to the United States were up by only 0.2% with fewer forward bookings than last year as of October.
Destinations in Mediterranean Europe saw sales up 6.8% year-on-year with North Africa enjoying a healthy spate of growth, up 10.6%. Scotland reported business up 8.9% while recent positive reports from Italy were backed up by a growth of 10.9% year-on-year.
Following some significant promotion, golf visitors to Northern Ireland were up 12.5% compared to an average across Great Britain and Ireland of 6.4%. Southeast Asia was up 4.8% with Thailand growing at a rate of 2.5%. South Africa performed well with business up 5.6% year-on-year, according to IAGTO member suppliers.