Green fees generated record revenues in Portugal last year
In counter cycle with the peaks in tourism demand, golf is preparing for its first high season of year, which starts in March and lasts until May. With the great revenues obtained in 2022 following the interregnum imposed by the pandemic, there is reason for confidence.
Revenues from golf in Portugal hit a record high of 154 million euros in 2022, a 6 percent rise from 2019, the last year before the pandemic, thanks to a total of 3 million rounds played. However, the actual effect of the sport on the Portuguese economy is expected to be far greater.
“The 154 million euros are only from green fees, not from any additional purchases made while at the golf course. rental of buggies, provision of meals, and teaching of related skills are only a few examples of the many businesses revolving around this sport”, says Frederico Brion Sanches, board member of the National Council of the Golf Industry (CNIG).
Foreign tourists are the main ones responsible for record revenues in the country, representing 80 percent of the rounds played last year. It is in the Algarve that the international market assumes greater weight (92 percent) with the British and Irish in the majority, followed by the Scandinavians and France.
“Playing four or five times throughout a week in Portugal is the norm for visitors from other countries. Non-Portuguese players are responsible for a significantly greater number of rounds compared to their Portuguese counterparts”, as Brion Sanches puts it.
Portugal has made the first step in establishing itself as a golf destination, and the country’s worldwide accolades enable it to compete with its key competitors, like Spain or Italy.
In 2019, for the sixth year in a row, Portugal has been named Europe’s Best Golf Destination by the World Golf Awards, and it has also been chosen as Europe’s Best Golf Destination by the World Travel Awards five times.
Frederico Brion Sanches thinks the industry has a lot to develop, but he cautions that more flights, more destinations, better air connections, and more convenient schedules are all essential, and defends an air bridge between Lisbon and the Algarve.
The lack of human resources, transversal to all areas of tourism, is another of the challenges pointed out by Brion Sanches, along with sustainability.
“Last but not least, we should expand our efforts to promote Portugal as a golf holiday destination. We are talking about more marketing campaigns and the constant promotion of Portugal as a golf destination”, he concludes.
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