Spain is already the preferred destination for European golf players, a sport that manages to mobilize 1.2 million travelers from other countries each year. This sport generates almost
This segment registers a higher average expenditure than the average, some 324 euros per day in 2018 compared to 154 for the sector in that year, and longer stays of almost 12 days, above the 7.4 for tourism as a whole. It is also a much more seasonally adjusted tourism and enhancer of destinations beyond traditional vacations, according to EFE.
According to a study by IE University prepared by Juan Santaló for the Spanish Association of Golf Courses, tourists who practice this sport have more than 280,000 homes in Spain, with an estimated investment of 42,000 million euros.
Of the 4.2 million players registered in Europe, more than a quarter come to Spain to practice their sport, with which almost 97% of foreigners come from this continent. Spain is also a leader in the organization of international professional tournaments in continental Europe.
The golfers most fond of Spain are the British, Swedish, German and Irish -the latter are the ones with the highest average daily spending- and the communities that benefit the most are Andalusia, Madrid and Catalonia.
The president of the Association of Golf Courses, Luis Nigorra, explained to EFE that 2018 and 2019 were the best years in the sector. In 2020, it experienced a very strong drop in foreign visitors and began to recover in 2021, especially in the second semester, just as it happened with international tourism throughout the country. In 2022, although there is still no complete data, the volumes of foreign players prior to the pandemic were recovered and so far in 2023 the trend continues, which has allowed the billing figures to improve, he adds.
Permanent and full-time employment
The 1.2 million tourists who came to Spain to play golf in 2018.
This tourism segment has a direct impact on the economy of around 5,418 million euros per year (777 million from golf course billing and 4,640 million from additional spending by tourists who practice this sport). The figure rises to 12,769 million if the indirect and induced effects are computed (1,585 million from the fields and another 11,183 million from the spending of athletes).
In labor matters, the employment generated (with the indirect and induced effects incorporated) reaches 14,276 -95% permanent and full-time- to which the authors of the study add the more than 107,000 that are activated by the expenses made by the Players on their holidays in Spain. In total, 121,400 jobs.
The busiest peaks are in March-April and October-November, outside of the high season of July-August, which contribute to seasonally adjust the profile of tourism. The seasons could be extended even more with an increase in transport connectivity, says Nigorra. The income level of these players is significantly higher than the average: high and medium-high income visitors represent 63% of golf tourism, almost double that of global international visitors.
More British come but the Irish spend more
Of the 1.2 million arrivals in 2018, almost 402,000 were British; 173,000 Germans and 275,000 Nordics. With Mastercard data on the use of cards by foreigners visiting Spain, the report indicates that the British lost 2,807 euros for each trip and 248 euros of average daily spending per person.
The dreams spent 5,214 euros per person and trip and 478 per person and day and in third place is Germany, with means of 3,910 euros per person and trip and 343 euros per day. The largest outlay is recorded by the Irish, both in the stay (6,014 euros) and in daily spending (584 euros).
By communities, of the 777.7 million that directly invoice the fields, the highest sales occurred in Andalusia (217 million), Madrid (114 million) and Catalonia (87.3 million).
42,000 million investment in second homes
At the same time, golf tourism represents an additional investment in housing. The value of real estate investment in this area increased to 41,937 million euros, with 283,195 owned homes.
In Andalusia, 102,439 foreign golfers have their own home, with an average property value of 147,242 euros; In Valencia, 101,179 players have their own homes, with an average value of 134,087 euros, and Murcia occupies the third position, with 29,051 homes and a value of 102,283 euros. However, the highest average per property occurs in the two archipelagos. The Canary Islands registered 226,450 euros (12,424 owners) and the Balearic Islands stood at 224,885 euros (22,300 owners). Madrid follows them, with 198,387 euros for 1,629 residences.
In Spain there are 393 companies that own the fields, which earn an annual average of 1.98 million, with differences between municipally owned facilities (805,000 euros) and those owned by partners, where it reaches 3.4 million .
A “green fee” for 18 holes in high season has an average price of 90 euros, of which the owners collect a profit of 5.8 euros. 57.3% of the companies that manage golf courses are not profitable due, according to the report, to the high fixed costs and the high taxation they bear.