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When you think about the United States, a few images pop into mind: an apple pie, the Statue of Liberty, perhaps the Washington Monument, and even the Hollywood sign.  Apparently the next image to add to this list is a golf course.

The U.S. was the fastest-growing destination for golf tour operators in 2013 according to data release by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, to global trade organization for the golf tourism industry.  Other countries that are growing as golf destinations include Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, Scotland, Morocco, and Ireland.

International Trends in Golf Tourism
However, it’s not just the United States and this handful of countries that is seeing a bump in golf tourism.  This year is expected to mark the third consecutive year of increased golf tour operators’ sales, building on top of more than 20% growth over the past two years.

The Chief Executive for the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, Peter Walton, summed up recent trends in the golf tourism industry with this quote:

“Regionally, Asian operators report that golfers are starting to explore more golf destinations, with operators worldwide featuring more destinations and attracting new clients.  In the USA, operators are seeing the return of the ‘middle market’, with high-end golf travel having remained strong throughout the economic crisis.”

One interesting growth trend can be seen in Germany, which experienced the greatest growth in women golfers in 2013.  Germany also has the highest percentage of female golfers, representing 39% of all golfers in the country.

Booking Golf Tourism
Golfers worldwide are split on when they decide to book their golf trips.  According to golf resorts and courses, half of golfers book more than three months in advance and half book less than 3 months before arrival.

When it comes to actually booking a golf trip, similar percentages are exposed as 52% of golfers worldwide book their holiday through a golf tour operator or travel agent.  The remaining 48% of golfers book their trips directly.

About the International Association of Golf Tour Operators
The organization includes 553 golf tour operators that together control more than 85% of the world’s golf holiday packages with more than $2.2 billion in sales in 2013.  To learn more about the IAGTO, click here.

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