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Scottish Golf riding high in Orlando

Press Release   •   Jan 25, 2017 14:41 GMT

The Scottish golf tourism industry will be out in force in the US this week as the country looks to build on a hugely successful 2016 during which US visitors to Scotland soared.

VisitScotland, the country’s national tourism organisation, and investment body Scottish Development International are leading a delegation of 14 Scottish businesses from across the country to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando to engage with more than 40,000 PGA professionals, media, tour operators and industry influencers.

The objective is to continue the momentum from 2016, which saw unparalleled growth in visitors to Scotland from the US with a 36 per cent increase in the number of visitors and a 57 per cent increase in expenditure in Q3.

The PGA Merchandise Show is the world’s biggest annual gathering of golf industry professionals, providing an exciting opportunity for Scottish golf tourism business looking to attract visitors from one of Scotland’s key inbound markets.

Generating in excess of £220 million per year, golf tourism is a vital part of Scotland’s visitor economy and one of the key drivers for US visitors thanks to Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf, as well as huge exposure through the hosting of major golf events such as The Open, The 2014 Ryder Cup, the Ricoh Women’s British Open and many others.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“We are delighted to once again be leading a strong delegation of Scottish golf tourism businesses at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. We have seen remarkable and unparalleled growth in the North American market in both visits and spend and it is important to look to build on that momentum into 2017. Of course, a favourable exchange rate has played its part, but a focus on airline capacity and connectivity – with around 90,000 extra seats on services from North America in 2016 - alongside a concentrated marketing approach has proved a real formula for success.

“There is no doubt that Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf resonates strongly in the US market and it is important that we continue to promote golf as one of our most important products to a North American audience.”

Golf will remain a key focus of VisitScotland’s marketing activities in 2017 and beyond with the staging of a number of major events including the Aberdeen Asset Management men’s and ladies Scottish Opens and the Ricoh Women’s British Open, all of which will be broadcast live in the US on channels including NBC and The Golf Channel. To reinforce Scotland’s position as the Home of Golf and a great visitor destination, VisitScotland will be running TV advertising campaigns in the US alongside the live coverage of the men’s and ladies Scottish Opens in the summer of 2017.

Scottish businesses attending the PGA Merchandise Show in 2017 include:

  • Adventures in Golf
  • Bonnie Wee Golf
  • Connoisseur Golf
  • DP&L Travel
  • Executive Golf & Leisure
  • Golphin
  • Highland Golf Links
  • Links Golf St Andrews
  • Macdonald Hotels
  • Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course
  • Perry Golf
  • Scotland for Golf
  • Stevens & Graham
  • VisitAberdeenshire


  • Golf tourism is worth £220m to Scotland annually and supports 4,400 jobs. Scotland attracts 220,000 golf visitors to Scotland every year while 92,000 other visitors play golf whilst on holiday
  • There are more than 550 courses across the country, over 400 of which are within an hour of a city or airport.
  • In a recent poll, 98% of US golf tourists to Scotland recognised Scotland as the undisputed Home of Golf.

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to
    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017