International golfers are on a visit here to inspect courses and rest of the infra structure as a first step towards developing a tourism strategy centered on the sport.
The officials from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) are going across the country playing on different courses with the intention of identifying “the most cost effective and direct route” to tap the rewarding niche market, according to Mr. Stogdal, the Chairman of Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance (KGMA).
Courses found conforming to global standards will be granted complementary membership to IAGTO, which has access to 330 golf tour operators across 50 countries. 223 of these operators specialize in selling golf destinations in Africa, the Gulf States or the Indian Ocean.
The interest in Kenya was generated after the country won the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year Award for 2009 at the International Golf Travel Market last November.
Speaking during the tour Mr. Peter Walton, The Chief Executive, IAGTO, mentioned that as an additional benefit, the organization would explore the possibility of granting complimentary membership to select private golf courses “which comprise an essential part of Golf Destination Kenya’s product.”
This, he said, would give the country a better recognition within the golf tourism industry, KGMA has been striving to promote golf as a major tourist attraction in Kenya and is hosting the IAGTO. The audit report is expected in six weeks.
IAGTO is a worldwide trade organization of golf tourism industry.
Instituted in 1997, its current membership exceeds 1,000 including 340 tour operators, from different countries, who specialize in golf holiday packages at international level.
The organization got interested in Kenya after the country won the “Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year Award” for 2009 at the International Golf Travel Market.
The world over, people either travel specially to play golf in various golf courses or indulge in that as a secondary activity while enjoying a beach holiday or travelling for business.
IAGTO estimates the global golf tourism above $17 billion, though there is good potential of its growing up, taking into consideration the new markets opening up, especially in Dubai and other parts of Asia .
The principal markets for golf tourism continue to be The US, UK, Japan, Canada and Australia, though we can see markets emerging in countries like China and Taiwan among the major players.
Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) has been promoting the country as a golfing destination. In its efforts to do so, it participates in some of the international tournaments held in the country and that includes the Kenya Open which is an attraction not only for local players but outsiders too.
The trends for golf continue to be on the rise in Kenya as new courses keep springing up almost all over the country. Some places of interest include the Vipingo Ridge in the North coast and the Aberdare Hills in Gilgil.