Abu Dhabi sees golf tourism increase

Abu Dhabi sees golf tourism increase
Sean Dudley

Figures from the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority have revealed that a record number of overseas rounds were played in the first quarter of 2013, prompting global golf tourism industry experts to suggest the destination is becoming one of the most lucrative in the field.

Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links all recorded their best quarterly figures for overseas rounds in 2013’s first quarter, and recorded an 89 per cent growth compared to the same period last year.

The three championship-ready clubs contributed almost a third of the overseas rounds played, a significant rise compared to the same period last year and far greater than any other destination in the country.

“We are hearing great reports from the clients we are sending to Abu Dhabi,” said Kevin Wang, vice general manager of Grand Tours, a Chinese golf tourism specialist. “These word-of-mouth endorsements are making Abu Dhabi an even easier sell for us and I expect the Emirate’s popularity to continue rising. I foresee sending ever-larger volumes of Asian golf travellers to Abu Dhabi over coming seasons.”

The rise of Abu Dhabi as a golfing hotspot has caught the attention of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) chief executive Peter Walton. Members of IAGTO control over 85 per cent of golf holiday packages sold globally, and Walton commented: “Golf in Abu Dhabi has demonstrated once again how the initiative is striking the right chord with tour operators in the Asian market. Abu Dhabi is a great product, a complete product, with impressive ambition and it is encouraging to see successful results coming from its golf tourism sector and from key Asian territories.”

The statistics coming out of Abu Dhabi indicate that the Gulf destination’s location, lying between the lucrative European and Asian markets, is starting to reap the benefits it undoubtedly has to offer.