Tourism New Zealand has recently completed a series of industry presentations on the future of golf tourism, following the completion of its New Zealand International Golf Tourism Strategy.
Research for the strategy found that New Zealand is a distinctive, but largely undiscovered destination for golf enthusiasts, despite the significant investment that has already occurred in quality infrastructure.
It identified clear markets and demographics that should be targeted including Australia, North America and China.
It also recommended the establishment of New Zealand Golf Tourism (NZGT), an independent industry group that would provide the interface between stakeholders and Tourism New Zealand.
"The formation of NZGT signals a new approach to marketing the sport and New Zealand's unique offer to international visitors," says Tourism New Zealand's Director of Marketing Andrew Fraser.
"Because of the nature of golf tourism there is a need for both golf facilities and the broader tourism industry to work collaboratively.
"Co-ordination is required between an international campaign and the domestic product and many facilities don't have the time or incentive to focus on their visitor market however, Tourism New Zealand does."
Tourism New Zealand will continue to lead the international marketing of New Zealand as a premium golf destination while NZGT will take a leadership role in co-ordinating the activities of Regional Tourism Organisations, iwi and investors to ensure domestic and international initiatives are compatible.
"Golf tourism provides untapped economic potential for the country - internationally golf tourism is a $32 billion market and New Zealand currently captures less than 0.3% of this," says Andrew.
"Marketing will be based on the concept of North and South Island Golf trails where travellers can come to New Zealand on an itinerary that takes in a number of marquee courses alongside unique community and regional courses.
"In addition to golf, the trails will take travellers to some of New Zealand's most unique tourism attractions and the best of our food, wine and accommodation offerings.
Tourism New Zealand is launching its first golf-focused, consumer marketing campaigns in the US on 1 December and second campaign in Australia, in February.
The campaigns will work to increase awareness of New Zealand as a golf destination by profiling New Zealand courses ready to meet the needs and expectations of the international market.
The golf strategy is part of Tourism New Zealand's work to drive higher-value visitors, with a focus on delivering significant growth for the industry now, as well as in the medium and long-term.
It is further supported by Tourism New Zealand's recent increase in funding to up-scale the promotion of special interest travel from core markets.
Membership of NZGT will be finalised by July 2014. An interim group is currently made up of Greg turner, Michael Goldstein, Peter Cutfield, Ryan Brandenburg.