More than a million rounds of golf were played on Algarve courses in 2011, up 4.9% on the previous year, cementing the region’s reputation as one of the top golfing destinations in Europe.
The figures, released by Turismo do Algarve, show that the majority of golfing visitors still come from the UK, followed by Germany, Scandinavia, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Such tourism is vital to the economy of the Algarve, with the golf season filling a gap after the summer season has ended and providing golf courses, hotels, restaurants and shops with much-needed custom.
The peak seasons for golf are March, April and October, and October last year saw 131,189 rounds played, 5,165 or 4.1% more than the same month in 2010.
The Algarve tourism board president, António Pina said: “Golf courses have not had such a positive result since 2008, although the fluctuating Pound and international financial crisis have not aided further growth.”
He credited the promoters of regional golf tourism for the increase in demand, saying they had undoubtedly helped to grow demand.
The Algarve has 40 golf courses of varying difficulty and appearance, designed by world-famous course designers and players.
There are large resort complexes and smaller independent courses offering a wide choice for different budgets.
The news comes despite the recent rising tax on green fees and other general costs going up across the Algarve.
Some of the courses in the area have been awarded with international acclaim by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), the German magazine Golf Magazin and the prestigious Today’s Golfer, a British publication.
Portugal Algarve Golf Services recently won the Golf Tourism Supplier of the Year 2012 at the annual IAGTO awards ceremonies in Turkey.
Directors Sue and Andy Georges said: “We are extremely proud…it is a recognition for the huge efforts all the PAGS staff have made to provide the highest quality service possible.”
The Algarve will also play host to the 15th International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in November this year.
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