Golf tourism and its future in South Africa (part 1 / 3)

Golf tourism and its future in South Africa (part 1 / 3)

I’ve just come back from three days up in the Limpopo Province.  The Bushveld, 2 hours north of Johannesburg.  On previous occasions we used to drive through, on our way to the Kruger Parks, Sabi Sands and Timbavati’s of this country, but now I took the time to explore the area a bit further.

The National Department of Tourism, in conjunction with the Limpopo Golf & Safari Route (a public/private partnership promoting golf tourism to the Limpopo province) had taken the great initiative to invite stakeholders in the golf tourism industry as well as relevant media and tourism departments to a one day seminar, followed by two days of golf for those interested.  As you can imagine, we were interested!  Very interested, actually!

Anyway, back to business!  Mr. Ian Leach, Director Golf Operations at Zebula Golf Estate & Spa facilitate the seminar, which was opened by Mr. Thabiso (Thabs) Mogodielio, Chairman of SAGTA, the South African ‘branch’ of IAGTO, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators.  It’s mission: growing the golf tourism industry in and to South Africa.  In South Africa: aimed at the domestic market, and getting more people to play golf.  To South Africa: to get more international tourist to come and play golf here.  With as main vision: growing the number of jobs in the country.  Quite a task, if you ask me!

"South Africa is the Number 12 golfing holiday destination in the world"
And then the floor was given to Mr. Peter Walton, CEO of IAGTO, who had come out from the UK specifically for this event.  One of the most fascinating statistics he threw at us was that within the 500-odd member golf tour operators worldwide, South Africa ranks as the Number 12 most favorite golf destination, yet ‘we’ were only the 23rd fastest growing country worldwide.  Another one: 70% of golfing tourists is looking for new destinations.

Now what does that tell us?  People would really like to come to South Africa, but they are not booking their next golf trip for whichever reason?  Or they’ve been here, and really enjoyed it, but are now looking to go somewhere else new and exciting?  There are 54 million golfers worldwide and 25% of them go on regular golfing holidays – that’s a whopping 13.5 million golf tourists out there!   Now to be honest with you, I can’t believe that all 13.5 million travelling golfers have been to South Africa yet…

So then the question remains: South Africa is a popular destination, but we are not seeing the numbers grow.  As yet…

 

About Eagle Eyes

Ypie Kingma (aka Eagle Eyes) was born and bred in The Netherlands. After graduating in International Business she lived, worked and played in Moscow, Russia for six years. When the financial crisis hit the country in 1998 she and her husband Erik relocated to Amsterdam for a short while before going on a new adventure to South Africa. They ran a very successful guesthouse in Knysna, at 'the bottom of Africa' where they since then started an inbound tour company specializing in tailor made individual or group (golf) tours, which can be self-drive or chauffeur-driven to the whole of South(ern) Africa, incl. accommodation, tee-off times, sightseeing, car rental, etc. Eagle Eyes (#EagleEyes): observations of a golfer, on anything golf and travel in South Africa. Personal stories, possibly biased but always honest. Because there is so much more than just golf!

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