Can Wales raise the bar for the IGTM in 2020?

By: December 18, 2019

When we are thinking about playing golf in the UK, we intentionally and unintentionally thinking about playing in Scotland and England.

Wales is now trying to change this perception and attitude by hosting the IGTM in 2020.

ICC Wales IGTM 2020

This will be the first time that IGTM will be held in the UK.

The exhibition will take place in the 4,000sqm pillar-free main hall at ICC Wales (an £84 million investment of the British & Welsh Government), with the newly-built 1,500-seater auditorium being used for the welcome address.

The ICC Wales has got 5000+ delegate capacity.

Celtic Manor Resort and the brand new International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales; see picture above) in partnership with The Vale Resort,
Marriott St Pierre and Royal Porthcawl will be the host of the event.

One of the possible reasons why the Celtic Manor Resort became one of the hosts is that next year will be the 10th anniversary of hosting the Ryder Cup.

Celtic Manor is investing more than an additional £100 million in ancillary infrastructure.

It also plans to open a 175-bedroom hotel in Cardiff, broadening its brand presence and expertise into a new location. The total investment is around £200 million.

Wales – international golf tourism development

As per the figures of KPMG today Wales has got 42 743 registered golfers (in 2018) and at least 144 golf courses (the R&A says 186 golf courses).

It seems to me that Wales or the Welsh golf clubs understood that they cannot rely 100% on UK golfers and golf tourists.

Scotland alone generated £325 million in revenue from golf tourism in 2018.

Now some leading Welsh golf clubs have formed a new tourism body responsible for maintaining and developing the momentum generated by government support. 

Founder members of Golf Tourism Wales include

  • Royal Porthcawl,
  • Royal St David’s,
  • Aberdovey,
  • Pennard,
  • Celtic Manor Resort and
  • The Vale Resort.

This membership organization is responsible for lobbying central government for funds and providing a focus for inbound golf tourism

Who will help the small and mid-sized golf clubs to get prepared to host international golf tourists?

I really liked the efforts of the Tourism Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council to prepare their region for hosting the visitors of the 148th Open.

Celtic Manor Resort Wales

At the same time, we should be aware of the Welsh Government’s plans that are affecting the golf tourism industry.

In the Welsh Government Strategy for Tourism 2013-2020 I found:

  • The Golf Tourism Monitor 2014 showed the value of golf in 2014 was £37.9 million. Golf visitors to Wales in 2014 totaled 218,000 – an 11% increase on 2013.
  • The 2015 program of golf consumer marketing activity includes – golf tournament and consumer show attendance in the UK, Europe, and the USA; partnerships with leading UK golf publications and with; an electronic Customer Relationship Management program to the golf consumer database; and publication of a new edition of the Wales Golf guide.

Let me share with you some interesting facts:

  • In 2018 the UK attracted 38 million international visitors, who added £23 billion to the British economy.
  • The UK will continue to be Europe’s leading hub for hotel investment for the next decade with industry committing to build over 130,000 additional bedrooms by 2025, with the majority of this outside of London. In 2018 the UK attracted 38 million international visitors, who added £23 billion to the British economy.
  • The Celtic Manor Resort has been voted the UK’s Best Hotel for 8 of the last 9 years at the Meetings and Incentive Travel Awards.

Major golf tournaments in Wales in 2020

Although Wales will not host the Ryder Cup in 2020, it will have some major golf tournaments:

  • Curtis Cup 2020 – Conway Golf Club;
  • St Andrews Trophy: Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, 23-24 July 2020
  • R&A Womens Home Internationals: Royal St David’s, 5-7 August
  • R&A Girl Home Internationals: Royal St David’s, 5-7 August