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Golf is a key point for tourism in Spain

The first independent study in Spain that analyzes the relevance and profitability of golf was recently published, carried out by IE University with the collaboration of the Spanish Association of Golf Courses (AECG) and the Royal Spanish Golf Federation (RFEG), shows the important role that the sector can play in the economic recovery phase after the pandemic that hits Spain.

The study –prolonged by Ms. Ana Botín, president of Banco Santander– which has been presented at a virtual institutional event at IE University in which the presidents of the AECG and RFEG have participated together with the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ms. Reyes Maroto, and by telematic intervention the CEOE president, Mr. Antonio Garamendi, confirms that it is a tourism industry that generates a direct impact of around €5,418 million in Spain, an amount that reaches up to €12,769 million including the indirect impact, consolidating itself as the first destination in the world for international golf tourism, attracting around 1.2 million foreign tourists.

A strategic sector in Spanish tourism

In 2018, 1,195,000 tourists who played golf came to Spain, of which 98.6% were Europeans. One issue that has been influenced is the quality of this tourism since the average stay of the golfer is 11.9 days compared to the 7.4 days that the average tourist spends in our country, in addition to the fact that the Average expenditure generated is €3,850 per stay and €324 per day.

It’s important to note that only a small part of these expenses are made on the golf courses: 1 out of every 8; distributing the rest (€4,640 million) among other sectors such as hotels, restaurants, shops, and transport, among others.

Another of the great strengths of golf that has stood out is that it is a sport that is played during all months of the year, unlike traditional sun and beach tourism – which is mainly concentrated in the months of July. and August-. The golf tourist, therefore, contributes to solving one of the challenges that the sector in Spain has always faced: seasonal adjustment.

To the importance of golf due to its economic impact is added its relevance as a generator of quality employment: 95% of the jobs created directly on golf courses are permanent and 94% full-time, percentages much higher than the national average since, according to INE data cited in the study, in Spain only 73.2% of employment is with a permanent contract and 85% full-time.

Real Estate Investment Catalyst

Another factor that supports the strength of golf as a sustainable economic engine in the long term is the figures relating to an investment in second homes by practitioners of this sport.

According to the study data, 23.7% of tourists who play golf in Spain stay in their second residences, compared to only 5% in the case of average Spanish tourism.

This translates into a total of 283,000 homes owned with a real estate investment value of 41,937 million euros. To this is added that this investment is directly associated with an annual recurring expense in Spain since most come at least once a year and 21.49% each quarter.

Antonio Garamendi, President of the CEOE, stated through a video that “Sport is wealth, jobs and the Spain Brand. We are talking about almost two million tourists who came to play golf in Spain, ensuring that there was not only a summer season but also a winter season. Golf contributes and will continue to contribute a lot to this Spain Brand. CEOE convey our full support. As far as possible we are ready to help you. Know that we are on top of the VAT issue. Golf companies are very important ”.

Claudia Hernández, president of the AECG, has commented:

“Golf is a tourist industry that generates 12,769 million euros a year in Spain and 121,393 direct or indirect jobs; an engine that is a decisive factor in the choice of Spain as a destination, which attracts 1.2 million foreign tourists each year and which provides important benefits to other sectors, which receive 7 out of every 8 euros generated. We have the opportunity to highlight our strengths and contribute to the economic recovery of our country. Golf is a healthy activity, capable of transmitting the perfect image to project a safe and sustainable destination”.

Gonzaga Escauriaza, president of the RFEG, has indicated:

“For a long time I have witnessed how golf tourism has changed many parts of our country. Hotels were closed during the winter that now remains open, new golf courses have been built where there was nothing, new leisure and restaurant offers, new transport infrastructures, etc. Without a doubt, golf tourism has contributed to generating new tourist offers and a seasonal adjustment that has driven us to be world leaders”.

Faced with Covid-19, golf is an excellent option

Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism: “golf is called to be the protagonist and an important element of recovery from this pandemic.”

In her speech, Reyes Maroto highlighted the benefits of golf, recalling that it is “a healthy activity, safe against Covid -with a protocol approved by the authorities- and respectful of the Environment. All this makes golf a key element for post-Covid recovery”.

“This protocol was approved in May to open quickly and safely, but many courses have not received their clients yet due to tourist restrictions and poor mobility. To minimize this impact, the Government of Spain is working to open tourist corridors, as there are already for the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands”, he added.

In this sense, the Minister suggested that among all the actors it is necessary to “strengthen these protocols to make our tourism model more resilient. In addition to resilience, the tourism model for the future must be adapted to technological changes and aspire to sustainability, and in this regard, golf is a benchmark ”. In conclusion, “it is an exciting challenge to modernize our tourism model, digitize it and make it as sustainable as possible”.


Data sources

The study on the economic impact of golf in Spain has been carried out by IE University based on a questionnaire to the companies that manage golf courses in Spain – carried out by the AECG and REFG-, as well as data from Mastercard that collect the patterns of spending by foreign tourists in Spain up to one month before and one month after their visit, and microdata from the Tourist Expenditure Survey provided by the National Institute of Statistics.

Article source: Andalucía Golf