Sri Lanka is yet to tap the multi-million dollar golf tourism market as Sri Lanka is virtually unknown The Global Golf Tourism Organisation(IAGTO)President and Chief Executive Peter Waltton said.
Speaking to Daily News Business he said that there over 100,000 golfers in India and over 14 million in Asia.
"Golfers are high spenders and they spend double than usual tourists. Their average stay is
around 10 days,"Waltton said. IAGTO controls 87% of the world golf tourism market valued at over 2.5 billion US dollars annually.
He said that the global golf market has over 56 million travellers and as a first step towards making Sri Lanka a golf destination they have appointed a leading sports tourism promoting company, Island Leisure as their representative. "The company will coordinate Sri Lanka activities and keep us updated of the developments and also facilitate FAM tourists and international media to Sri Lanka." Waltton said that they also met the Sri Lanka Tourism officials who were very encouraging. "We have done a study in Sri Lanka and the country now needs more golf courses (18 hole) similar to Digana Kandy. We welcome the Shangri-La Hambantota which will be Sri Lanka's first hotel with a large golf club."
He said they promoted a similar concept for Mauritius and today the country is witnessing a 6% growth in arrivals and a 9% increase from tourism earnings. The country today has six golf courses."
Island Leisure Chairman Chandana Amaradasa said that in a bid to promote golf tourism in Sri Lanka they will arrange a Sri Lankan delegation to participate in a large Asian Golf Convention in Thailand next April. Over 600 delegates will attend this.