Emerald Isle as popular as ever

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Golf tourism to Ireland is bucking the trend and has outperformed the general Irish tourism market over the past five years.

Golfers are coming back to the Emerald Isle with numbers increasing steadily year on year since 2009. The driving force behind these increasing numbers is coming mainly from UK golfers, whose appetite for good Guinness and great Golf seems to have been rediscovered.

It’s fair to say that Ireland has always been famous for its golf courses and hospitality but there was a time, not so long ago, when a golf trip to Ireland was deemed to be too expensive. But times, as Bob Dylan would say, are a-changing. Pro-active initiatives such as Club Choice Ireland are helping bring value back into the market while also ensuring that the quality of golf and famous hospitality are retained.

Club Choice Ireland is a unique alliance of Golf Courses, Resorts and Hotels from the South-East and East Coast of Ireland which offers its customers all inclusive golf packages to some of Ireland’s finest golfing destinations. Club Choice Ireland specialises in tailor made, bespoke, group packages providing a personal touch to your booking by having genuine knowledge and passion for golf in its region.

Managing Director Tiernan Byrne is very positive about the year ahead: “What’s most encouraging is the satisfaction rating of our visiting golfers which Failte Ireland recently surveyed at 94%. Given the supply of top quality golf courses on the Island, this is very important as it allows these satisfied customers to come back again and again for a different golfing experience each time.

“We believe that our region of Ireland, The East & South-East, has underperformed as a golfing destination for tourists. When you consider we have the best access options through two airports and three ferry ports and we have some of the best golf on offer with 48 of the Countries Top 100 courses, it makes complete sense why our nearest neighbours are coming back to our region of Ireland for their golfing holiday.”

David Boyce, head of business and sports tourism for Tourism Ireland, said “We are delighted to see the success of Club Choice Ireland in attracting British golfers to Ireland. It is certainly testament to their hard work and their commitment to having a presence on the ground, which we have no doubt will continue to bear fruit. Their ‘Irish Golf Days’ have proved to be a huge success, helping to set them apart as they get to meet their potential customers face-to-face.

“Club Choice Ireland is promoting the South East and eastern regions of Ireland as a top golfing destination – highlighting the truly excellent courses, the quality accommodation and the ease of access from Britain by both ferry and air. We look forward to working with Club Choice Ireland again in 2014 and beyond.”

A key ingredient to the great golfing packages on offer from Club Choice Ireland is their partnership with Stena Line Ferries. This partnership allows them to offer golf, accommodation and ferry in an all-inclusive bundle which cannot be beaten on price.

Diane Poole OBE, Stena Line’s Head of PR and Communications said: “We are committed to providing our customers with a reliable, affordable and comfortable service and with the best routes and sailing times on the Irish Sea we are the perfect gateway to Ireland for leisure travellers from Great Britain.

“We look forward to working with Club Choice and Tourism Ireland in the coming year as we share a joint passion for showcasing what is great about the south-east and east of Ireland. We feel that the combination of Ireland’s great golfing destinations, Stena Line’s hassle-free way to travel and our no baggage charges, especially popular with golfers, makes us a great choice and a winning combination for anyone coming to Ireland to play.”

Club Choice Ireland was formally launched by the Irish Minister for Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, in November 2012 and last week held its 2014 at the Celtic Manor Resort, South Wales.