Perth and Kinross golf tourism partnership set up

A NEW partnership organisation is to be set up to help golf tourism in Perth and Kinross capitalise on the staging of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next year.

Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley tees off on the 17th hole at Gleneagles yesterday. A new partnership agreed today is set to boost golf tourism in Perth and Kinross. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Golf tourism in the area is currently worth an estimated £12 million. But the Ryder Cup legacy could pull in an additional £17 million of tourism spending between 2013 and 2020, according to a report going before next Wednesday’s meeting of the Perth and Kinross Council’s Enterprise and Infrastructure Committe.

The committee is expected to rubber stamp the creation of the Perth and Kinross Golf Development Partnership which will involve the council working alongside local golf clubs and accommodation providers, as well as Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Golf Union and Visit Scotland, to attract more golfers and tourists to the area.

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Steven MacDonald, the council’s Regeneration Projects Officer, states in a report to the committee: “Perth and Kinross has a wealth of high quality inland courses that range from the internationally recognised Gleneagles courses, including the PGA Centenary course that will be used for the 2014 Ryder Cup, the highly regarded Blairgowrie which is hosting the Junior Ryder Cup 2014, and a number of scenic nine hole courses which fit well with Perthshire’s reputation for scenery and outdoor activities.

“The total value of golf visitors to Perth and Kinross is estimated to be around £12.8 million in total, supporting approximately 400 jobs - 300 direct jobs and a further 100 indirect jobs. This figure is relatively low compared with other areas because there are proportionately more day trip visitors and a smaller proportion stay overnight.”

But he explains that, based on consultation feedback, the economic value of golf tourism in Perth and Kinross should grow by 28 per cent by 2020, resulting in an additional expenditure of £17 million, around £2.4 million a year.

Mr MacDonald states: “The Ryder Cup is providing a catalyst for golf businesses to consider how to take advantage of the opportunities and, in the longer term, develop the area as a more attractive destination for visiting golfers. The consultation carried out suggests that golf businesses are fairly optimistic that this can be achieved, but will require greater co-operation and support.”

Councillor Joe Giacopazzi, the committee’s Vice Convener, said: “Perth and Kinross has a wealth of high quality golf courses. We will work in close partnership with tourism agencies, local golf clubs, golf businesses and the hospitality industry to make sure that we can make the most of these assets. The collaboration will help the development and marketing of Perth and Kinross as a top golfing destination, and will enable us to compete with other destinations in and outside Scotland.”

He added: “An action plan will be developed by the new group, with project management support provided by the Council’s Planning and Regeneration Team. Scottish Enterprise has identified Perth and Kinross as one of three key priority areas for the development of golf tourism. This gives us the opportunity to attract some additional external funding to support our plan to put Perth and Kinross firmly on the map for golf tourists.”