Golfers came to play golf and learn more about the golf industry when they attended the Dominican Republic Golf Travel Exchange in La Romana and Punta Cana last week. The event included rounds of golf and discussions on the industry.
It was revealed that in the Dominican Republic, golfers contributed more than US$200 million to the local tourism industry, according to a study carried out by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), North America division.
IAGTO co-sponsored the Dominican Republic Golf Travel Exchange that brought more than 110 international participants from all around the world. IAGTO members from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, and Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden and the United States took part this year.
The event began at Casa de Campo, La Romana and continued in Punta Cana. There were rounds of golf at Teeth of the Dog in Casa de Campo and in Punta Cana at Cocotal Golf Club and Punta Espada golf courses in Cap Cana.
In 2014, golf tourism was up 10% in the Dominican Republic with an estimated 140,000 tourists coming to play golf, said the study, as revealed by Teddy de Lara, director of the Dominican Republic Golf Travel Exchange 2015.
During the event, a workshop, “Golf Industry in the Dominican Republic” was held. The event included presentations by PGA Magazine Publications chief executive officer Richard Summers, IAGTO North America presidentClaudio Demarchi, Dominican Golf Federation (Fedogolf) vice president Carlos Elmudesi, and Gilles Gagnon, golf director at Casa de Campo.
Richard Summers spoke of positive prospects for the industry. Claudio Demarchi said IAGTO operators account for 85% of golf holiday packages sold around the world, with annual sales of over $2.5 billion.
He said that more than 75% of their members traveled at least four times a year to play golf and 19% traveled at least three times. He added that Canadians purchased more than a million golf packages in 2014 and spent over US$2.5 billion on their six-eight day trips.
Demarchi says that after North America the next most played golf region is the Caribbean.
Carlos Elmudesi said that between Canada, the US, and Latin America there is a market of 40 million golfers the DR could attract to play on Dominican golf courses.
Magaly Toribio, marketing advisor to the Dominican Ministry of Tourism, said that the average spending of tourists coming to play golf was more than US$240 a day, compared to the all-inclusive tourist average of US$128 per day. She said that the Ministry of Tourism spends US$2 million on promoting the golf segment out of the US$50 million promotion budget.