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Golf swings it for Kenya's tourism

04 December 2013 09:18

Not just a pretty safari: Kenya is associated with safari tourism, but golf is also starting to attract many visitors

Not just a pretty safari: Kenya is associated with safari tourism, but golf is also starting to attract many visitors

Kenya's holiday industry is perhaps more synonymous with elephants swinging their trunks than golfers swinging their clubs.

But new figures suggest that the growing global trend towards golf tourism is booming in the African country.

Around 20-30% of regular players take a golf-related holiday every year, the International Golf Tour Operators Association (IAGTO) said on Monday.

Two billion US dollars (£1.22 billion) were spent on golf holiday sales last year, from more than 1.6 million golfers who travelled, according to IAGTO.

A fifth of these went to Africa, with Kenya and Nigeria named as the quickest-growing golf tourism destinations on the continent.

Travel and tourism contributed 5.2 billion US dollars (£3.17 billion) or around 12.5% of African GDP last year.

This is predicted to jump by 2.2% this year, according to the WTTC Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2013 report, with game safaris and beach trips bringing in most revenue.

Holidaymakers looking to enjoy sport-related holidays, whether golf, skiing, cricket or any physical activity, can win peace of mind by taking out sports travel insurance before they fly out.

Rod Taylor, Marketing and Communication Manager Aberdares Golf Estate said in Nairobi this week: "Golfers love to travel and play in courses all over the world, and Kenya has truly emerged as a favoured destination, hence the need to improve our golf offerings to tap into this new market."

He said that golf tourists do not necessary follow the seasons, but rather travel to play at their leisure.

But these pursuits are fuelled by the tourism peaks - from mid-June to October and mid-December to February.

March to mid-June and November to mid-December, conversely, see spells of low tourism.

But Kenya is still to completely tap into golf tourism that the IAGTO suggests can extend the high season for destinations, besides earning revenue from tourism ancillaries, such as meetings and the incentives trade.

Kenya's primary tourism attractions have centred around beach and safari owing to the country's extended coast line of 480 km (298 miles) and prolific wildlife.