What can do golf tourism for Andalucia?

By: October 19, 2015

Andalucia is in a controversial situation. Although, we can see 7 million tourists are visiting Andalucia every year, among them many golf tourists (see below the figures), but we can also find an unemployment rate of 35.21 % (The forecast is still for 24% unemployed across Spain by 2020. Source: The European Job Mobility portal). The Economic Analysts of Andalusia (October 2014) forecast an estimated 2.0 % GDP growth in Andalusia in 2015. Needless to say that the end of the real estate boom and a declining national economy have hit the region hard.

Let’s check what is the contribution of international golf tourism to the Andalusian economy!


KPMG’s Golf Participation in Europe 2015 survey shows us that after 2007, the number of golfers has been declining in Europe’s well established golf markets such as Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, France, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Luxembourg. Just in Spain, the golf participation decreased by 4.8% (there are 280,712 registered golfers in Spain).

Here are my questions:

  • How can foreign golf tourists compensate this 4.8% shrinkage?
  • What should be the fate of poorly managed and/or surplus/unwanted golf courses? (The best golf courses are those that are truly for sport and for playing golf and not only an extension of a real estate project). I would shut them down.
  • How can Andalucia maximize the popularity of Spain as a top golf destination to create more jobs and employment opportunities?
  • How do Andalusian golf clubs are utilizing social technology and other IT solutions to attract & retain more golfers and provide outstanding customer experience? How do you utilize your data sources (e.g. POS systems, billing systems, CRM systems, EFM system, online survey and feedback tools etc.) to generate more revenue?
  • How do you want to serve the increasing number of female golf tourists? Check out the stats below!

Lago Hoyo at Islantilla Golf Resort - Huelva

At the very same time, golf holiday sales by IAGTO’s European golf tour operators grew in the past 3 years:

  • 2012: +9.4%
  • 2013: +10.1%
  • 2014: +9%
  • 2015: Growth in golfers traveled Jan-Mar 2015 compared to Jan-Mar 2014 = 8.8%
  • 2015: Forward bookings in place on 1 April for remainder of the year and 2016 = 7.3% up on the same time the previous year.

Similar to Algarve, most of the foreign golf tourists came from the United Kingdom in 2014:

  1. United Kingdom,
  2. Germany,
  3. Sweden,
  4. France,
  5. Denmark,
  6. Finland,
  7. Norway,
  8. Austria,
  9. Holland,
  10. Switzerland.

Another positive sign, is the increasing number (IAGTO found an 56% of growth) of international women golf visitors arrivals. This increase was typical (=70%) in Mediterranean Europe, Asia and North Africa. This percentage was lowest in Non-Mediterranean Europe (29%) and the USA (33%).

An interesting fact at the end. Did you know that La Reserva de Sotogrande was Robert Trent Jones‘ 1st golf course in Europe (opened more than 50 years ago).