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Abu Dhabi sees 19 per cent increase in overseas golf bookings

One in every four rounds of golf in Abu Dhabi is now played by an international traveller, according to figures revealed today, helping to accelerate the United Arab Emirates (UAE) into the world’s fourth fastest-growing golf destination.

New data released by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) shows the UAE has achieved a meteoric rise from ninth to fourth in its annual list of the world’s emerging golfing hotspots, following continued investment into attracting overseas visitors such as the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)-backed  Golf in Abu Dhabi Initiative.  

Overseas rounds for Q1 on Abu Dhabi’s three championship-ready courses increased 19 per cent on the first three months of 2013 to total 10,948 with increasing demand from Germany, the UK, South Korea, China and India. The total number of rounds played in the UAE capital in Q1 this year inched up 4 per cent to 43,046.  

“The figures show that overseas golfers now account for a quarter of all rounds played at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links,” said Faisal Al Sheikh, Director, TCA Abu Dhabi’s Events Bureau which operates the GIAD initiative.  

Details of Abu Dhabi’s upward golf swing came at the inaugural HSBC Golf Business Forum, the leading B2B golf conference for Europe, the Middle East and Asia, which sees more than 200 industry professional convene at the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa.   

The ‘GIAD,’ programme, which was launched in 2011, is a one-stop booking shop for golfers to book packages to Abu Dhabi. In addition, a growing number of worldwide tour operators are now featuring Abu Dhabi’s golf proposition in their marketing campaigns and brochures.  

“We are on an upward trajectory with golf,” added Al Shaikh. “We now have over 400 operators worldwide selling our golf packages to our emirate and are highly encouraged by the recent naming of Abu Dhabi by the UK’s prestigious Golf Today magazine as “the runaway destination of choice.”  

“Our industry partners say our increasing appeal owes as much to our much improved ‘Beyond The Fairways’ offering as it does to our excellent courses and facilities. Our expanding list of attractions and tours combined with golf, have powerful appeal we are looking to further through increased trade engagement across a number of key and emerging markets.”

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