Is it worth for European Tour Properties to expand in Bulgaria?

By: January 21, 2016

Bulgaria’s Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort, featuring an Ian Woosnam-designed par-71 golf course, has become the 18th member of the exclusive European Tour Properties network. The project was started in 2005 and the golf course opened in September 2008.

It is not the first Bulgarian golf club that joins the European Tour Properties network. Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort is following the example of the Thracian Cliffs Resort (in 2015, it was Bulgaria’s Best Golf Hotel according to World Golf Awards).

It seems like an intense (almost desperately) attempt to gain awareness and put the golf club on the golf tourism map. The Bulgarian tourism & travel industry’s share of direct contribution to the Bulgarian GDP was approximately 3.7% (~1.7 billion USD; the total share of contribution was 14%) in 2015. The World Tourism & Travel Council is expecting a significant long-term growth.

From the statistics, we can also see that the local golf industry depends on foreign tourists, as there are not enough Bulgarian golfers. Although Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort is in the cluster with 2 other golf clubs (Thracian Cliffs Resort and Black Sea Rama) it will be still tough to convince golf tourists to try this golf club.

Along with this, we should bear in mind that the golfer will be able to play only on 3 golf courses within this cluster.  In comparison with Belek, there are 10 top notch golf courses (e.g. Montgomerie Maxx Royal: it is also a European Tour destination) within a reasonable distance that complicate Bulgarian golf courses’ situation.

To be part of the European Tour Properties network is not cheap. I would love to see the calculation about how much tee time and membership sales growth they are expecting from this membership…and, of course, prestigious golf tournaments…

Needless to say, I would love to see Hungarian golf clubs who make as much effort as these Bulgarian golf clubs and resorts.

Lighthouse Golf (16) copy