Monday, January 17, 2011

Scottish Golf Industry Revels in New Year Possibilities

Scotland’s golf tourism sector has provided a strong indication that confidence is returning to the industry after a challenging two years. Golf Tourism Scotland has released findings from a recent poll that indicate travel, hospitality and golf professionals are increasingly upbeat about the year ahead.

Conducted at the industry’s coveted Gold Standard Awards at the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa in North Berwick, the survey asked golf professionals if they felt more or less positive about 2011. The overwhelming majority (94%) indicated they were looking forward to the next 12 months - up 4% on a similar study carried out last year. Only 1% felt less confident (down 7%) and 4% were undecided.

“There is a different feel about 2011, and it definitely has a positive edge,” commented Lee Derrick, chairman of GTS. “The last two years have been tough and the industry has been forced to make some difficult decisions, but looking forward I see an exciting year ahead and increasing optimism among our members.”

Derrick puts at least some of this positivity down to a remarkable season of golf. “Europe winning the Ryder Cup and the performance of the Brits on tour has been sensational,” he said. “It has really fired up the public’s imagination and desire for golf. Closer to home, having the Open Championship at St Andrews was very special and once again put Scotland firmly under the world’s spotlight.”

His views were echoed by those quizzed at the Gold Standard Awards who invariably agreed (81%) that the Home of Golf hosting the Open Championship had had a positive impact on their business. Only 9% saw it as negative and 10% saw no change. “The highlight of the year in Scotland was the Open at St Andrews,” noted GTS board member Fraser Cromarty, who also acts as the sales and marketing manager at Castle Stuart Golf Links. “As always, it was a great shop window for the whole of Scotland. Looking forward, the feeling around the industry is that 2011 should see improvements on the progress made in 2010, which I’m sure everyone would welcome.”

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