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New Zealand golf: distinctive but undiscovered says tourism working group

Tourism New Zealand plans to invest up-to two million dollars over three years into the international marketing of New Zealand's distinctive golf offer to potential visitors.

The investment is one outcome of the Golf Tourism Strategy Report, a report commissioned by Tourism New Zealand to explore New Zealand's golf tourism potential.

The report's authors say New Zealand has both a world class golf tourism offering and the opportunity to do more with it. Strategic activity will aim to lift the current estimated annual expenditure by international "golf tourists" from $145 million to $223 million within three years.

Tourism New Zealand's General Manager Marketing Communications, Justin Watson says golf has been identified as a priority special interest sector due to the number of high-value travellers it attracts and its strong potential for growth.

"Back in April, we established a golf working group and tasked them with developing a long-term strategy for golf tourism in New Zealand as a means to increase the returns from international visitors.

"Their report has now been delivered, and it has been endorsed by the UK-based peak organisation for golf tourism, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

"The findings are that New Zealand is a distinctive, but largely undiscovered destination for golf enthusiasts, despite the significant investment that has already occurred in quality infrastructure."

The strategy has identified clear markets and demographics that should be targeted including Australia, North America and China, and recommends the establishment of North and South Island Golf Trails.

Golf working group Chair Greg Turner, says; "Golf is a popular international visitor activity and New Zealand has always been fortunate to have amongst the most golf courses per capita anywhere in the world.

"In recent years there has also been an enormous investment in both existing and new facilities that will meet the needs of golf tourists, resulting in an outstanding opportunity to grow this highly valuable sector of the tourism industry."

The strategy also proposes the establishment of an industry advisory group, known as New Zealand Golf Tourism (NZGT) that will explore alternative funding streams and support from the golf sector and other beneficiaries of golf tourism spend. 

"NZGT would fill a vital coordination role between the golf courses, regional tourism interests and the international marketing effort," says Greg.

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.

Tourism New Zealand will maintain a focus on attracting international visitors with the proposed NZGT taking responsibility for considering the domestic tourism flow and relationships within the golf sector.

Tourism New Zealand and the golf working group will host a series of industry meetings throughout the country in late September / early October, to discuss the strategy.

The working group (WG) was comprised of five members: Greg Turner (Chair); Geoff Burns; Peter Cutfield; Michael Goldstein and Chris Atkinson. The group was selected based on their cross section of professional skills in business, tourism and golf sectors.

Contact Leah Phelps, Senior Communications Advisor, Tourism New Zealand
leah.phelps@tnz.govt.nz; phone +64 21 843 896

Notes for editors: Working Group bio details

Greg Turner (Chair) - Golf Professional and course designer
Greg Turner has been a professional golfer for almost 3 decades and is the principal of one of New Zealand's leading golf course design businesses. He has been a director of the Australian PGA; and is a member of the Organising Committee of the NZ Open Championship.

Geoff Burns - Tourism Industry Advisor
Geoff is experienced in the tourism sector, with roles as Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand and Strategy Director for the 2015 New Zealand Tourism strategy. Geoff has considerable specific experience in the golf sector including golf tourism development, professional player management, charitable and media activity.

Peter Cutfield - Royal Wellington Golf Club
Peter Cutfield is a recently retired corporate finance professional. He founded a boutique corporate finance house in London 25 years ago. Its successor, Cutfield Freeman and Company still exists today. He is a former Captain at RWGC and is one of the few New Zealand members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Michael Goldstein - Operations and Marketing Manager New Zealand Open
Coming from a background in law, Michael now works in the golf industry specifically as the operations and marketing director for the New Zealand Open.  Michael travelled the world of golf in 2010 playing 365 courses around the world and has subsequently spent considerable time in China and Australia.

Chris Atkinson - Tourism New Zealand Marketing Manager Sectors
Chris has a strong background in tourism having held a range of senior management roles in marketing, strategy and business planning for Sky City, Air New Zealand and ATEED along with international consulting experience in the USA and Singapore. She has been a small tourism business owner operator and also has advertising agency experience.