Scottish golf clubs are aiming to attract more Chinese tourists following the introduction of a simplified tourist visa for visitors from the country.
A survey of millionaires in China found that golf is their most popular sport and travelling their favourite leisure activity. This comes after research from VisitScotland found the average Chinese tourist spends £770 on a holiday to Scotland, more than tourists from any other nation.
VisitScotland stats show that in 2013 visitors from China made 34,000 visits to Scotland, spending £34 million, however tourist operators in the Highlands think more can be attracted.
Neil Hampton, general manager of Royal Dornoch Golf Club; “China offers huge potential to Scottish golf tourism and the Highlands can capture a large slice of future income from its golfing visitors.
“Many Chinese tourists already know Scotland for its whisky, tartan, bagpipes, castles and golf – as well as the Loch Ness monster. We are well placed to capitalise on these recognition factors and attract more visitors to this part of the world.
“And we have much to work with. We are approaching a time when there will be unprecedented interest in our magnificent golfing locations.
“In 2016 Castle Stuart Golf Links will welcome back the Scottish Open for the fourth time in six years, putting the renowned course back in the international spotlight it enjoyed for three consecutive years, culminating in the 2013 tournament, won by Phil Mickelson, which attracted a TV audience of over 500 million.
“Next year also marks the 400th anniversary of golf being played on the links at Dornoch and a series of events will be held by Royal Dornoch Golf Club to mark this historic milestone. With our HGL partners – the Kingsmills Hotel and Culloden House, Inverness; the Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch and the Golf View Hotel & Spa in Nairn – we hope to capitalise on this international focus to bring more golfing visitors to the Highlands through our Play and Stay packages and other marketing efforts.”
Scotland is well placed to maximise the opportunities arising from changing visitor trends and an increasing desire for authenticity, health and well-being as well as our fantastic scenery. Check out the Tourism Intelligence Scotland Golf resource which has been developed to help tourism businesses and the many golf clubs and courses in Scotland to better understand the needs and expectations of golf visitors.