More than half a million rounds of golf were played in Turkey’s golf hot spot Belek in 2013, with a staggering 98.7 per cent played by international golf tourists.
Visitor rounds in Belek increased by 31,800 last year, a rise of 6.9 per cent compared to 2012 and a welcome recovery from the slump of 11.3 per cent experienced in 2012. This is encouraging news for owners of homes in Belek who let their property to holidaymakers and golfers.
Situated on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast near Antalya, Belek has been a golf tourism success story with rounds increasing every year from 1995 to 2011, the only exceptions being a slight dip in 2006 and the drop of 59,000 rounds in 2012. The total number of rounds played in 2013 reached 501,684, of which 495,103 were by tourists, compared with 470,426 (463,329 by tourists) in 2012. The half a million rounds played annually come from just 10 golf facilities, with 16 courses in all, offering 270 holes of golf – the equivalent of 15 18-hole courses.
Kurtulus Gulsen, Chairman of the IAGTO Turkey Chapter, was delighted to see the number of rounds recover last year and predicted a further rise in 2014. While noting that they were not expected to reach the record levels of 2011, as Belek’s courses were working on keeping round times down, he said: “For 2014, the estimated rise in total rounds played will be about 7 per cent, giving at least 536,000 rounds of golf.”
Gulsen stressed that the golf tourism industry in Turkey had not reached its goals yet, adding that the country was targeting Asian visitors: “Belek is seeking to receive golf tourists from Korea, China, Japan, India, Singapore and Malaysia as new targets for 2014-2015. Therefore, the Turkish Culture & Tourism Ministry will be hosting tour operators and delegates from those countries very soon.”
The peak months for its golf tourism are March, April and May, October and November. These five months account for 67 per cent of the annual rounds played.
IAGTO’s Peter Walton explained: “This is a typical example of how the seasonality of golf tourism is significantly more valuable to a destination than its empirical value alone. March to May and October-November are outside of Belek’s high summer months and therefore serve to extend the destination’s tourism season significantly, creating employment and revenue even beyond the shoulder months into the low winter season.”
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