A MAJOR golf tourism initiative, launched two years ago to bring more golfers to the North east of Scotland - home to the Trump golf resort - is to be expanded to meet the demand from visitors and operators.
Scottish Golf Trails was launched in December 2010 in a bid to increase the region’s share of the lucrative golf tourism sector.
And today the organisation announced it is increasing its range of tailored stay and play golf holiday packages to include more golf courses and accommodation providers. An economic report, published earlier this year, forecast that golf tourism in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire could rise from its current £27million contribution tot the local economy to £67million by 2020.
A spokesman for Scottish Golf Trails said: “Scottish Golf Trails now offers four trails covering 29 of the finest links and parkland courses in North east Scotland, covering Perthshire, Fife, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands. Courses that have joined the scheme include Gleneagles, Kingsbarns, Trump International, Castle Stuart and Royal Dornoch.
“The four trails – Scottish Classics, Royal Deeside, North East Links and Highland Treasures – will be marketed in conjunction with 17 select accommodation providers to offer integrated golfing holiday packages.”
The spokesman continued: “When it launched, Scottish Golf Trails filled a gap in the golf tourism market in the North east of Scotland, generating welcome additional revenue for businesses in the area. The opening of Castle Stuart and Trump International golf courses has generated a large amount of international interest in playing golf in North east Scotland.
“When the Scottish Open moves to Royal Aberdeen in 2014, having been held at Castle Stuart in the three previous years, it is predicted that the exposure generated by this will also help to put the region’s courses on golfers’ must-play lists.”
Hector Emslie, Scottish Golf Trails’ director, said: “Trump International Golf Links has really put the North east on the golfing map, particularly in America, so it is exciting to also have their support.”
He added: “Over the next four years Scottish golf courses will receive extensive exposure around the world as three Open championships and the Ryder Cup are held in the country. A lot of interest in playing golf in the North east and Highlands has been generated thanks to the Scottish Open being held in the area. We have to capitalise on this exposure to increase the number of golfers wishing to holiday here.”
Helma Scheffler, a German marketing specialist, has already been appointed by Scottish Golf Trails to promote its range of packages to golfers in Germany and capitalise on a direct air link between Aberdeen and Frankfurt.
She said: “Scotland’s dramatic scenery and reputation as the home of golf are big draws for Germany’s 900,000 golfers. Many of them will travel abroad on golfing holidays twice a year, one of which will be to a short-haul destination such as Scotland. The North east of Scotland has a lot to offer German golfers with many courses being within easy reach of Aberdeen. The direct air route from Frankfurt is also hugely important.
“There is great potential for Scottish Golf Trails in the German market because of the quality of its integrated product. German golfers are big spenders, but are also looking for a high standard of service. Because the trails are so well packaged with accommodation and courses, the scheme will also be popular with golf professionals who organise overseas trips for their students several times a year.”