News

Golf visits to cost council 4,500

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

THE attendance of one council official to attend two international golf trade shows will cost 4,500, writes Ian Heaney.

March's meeting of the Enterprise, Regeneration and Tourism (ERT) meeting in Newry saw members approve a recommendation to send an officer to the two events, the IAGTO North America Golf Tourism trade show in Oregon, from 24-27 June, and the International Golf Travel Market, in Slovenia, between 15 and 18 October.

A report presented to councillors pointed out that a Newry, Mourne and Down District Council official had previously attended the events for two years running 'to promote the golf product in our region and to encourage more international golfers to visit the district.'

Members heard that the council representative had been accompanied by representatives of North and West Coast Links, which is a company that promotes golf tourism in the district.

The report stressed that 'due to the success of attending both these events and securing a number of groups to visit the region on play and stay packages, strong working relationships have been forged with group buyers from North America, Canada, Australia and the UK'.

It was also pointed out that as 'a direct result' of attending the events in the past two years, more than 400 bed nights had been booked by new groups to the area. And it had been confirmed that there would be other new groups from North America, Canada, Australia, the Nordics and the UK coming to the district this year.

"In order to maintain these working partnerships, to continue to promote the region, and to prospect for new business, it is proposed that a council officer attends these shows again this year," said the report. "Tourism Ireland, Failte Ireland and Tourism NI are all planning to attend both these events."

Andy Patterson, the council's assistant director of tourism, culture and events, stated that the 400 bed nights were mostly made up of visitors from North America and long-haul destinations. He believed attending the events was "a good investment."

SDLP Councillor Michael Carr recalled that last year's itinerary for visitors was "very good." However, he said there were other good golf clubs in the district that should not be neglected and should also be part of the tour.

He added that it would make "a big difference to the revenue in Newry, Mourne and Down."

The recommendation was proposed by Independent Councillor Davy Hyland and seconded by SDLP Councillor Declan McAteer.

An invite will be forwarded to golf clubs in the district to attend the two trade events in partnership with the council to promote "the golf tourism offering within the region."

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