UK Study Finds Rising Airline Fees Putting Crimp in Golf Travel

Golfers in the UK, Europe's largest golf market, say rising airline fees to transport sports equipment is now a significant factor in their decision to travel abroad or stay at home for a golf break, a new survey has found.

The research, commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, organizers of the International Golf Travel Market to be held November 14-17 in Turkey, found that 80 percent of golfers said the additional luggage fees affected their vacations, with 52 percent saying it had a "big impact" on whether they flew abroad or booked a vacation in the UK.

More than 2,400 golfers - all readers of Golf Monthly magazine - were surveyed for the report, compiled by Sports Marketing Surveys, Inc. The report, which will be published at IGTM, details the key influences on UK golfers and their choice of golf holiday destinations.

Commenting on the findings, IGTM Exhibition Manager, Peter Grimster, said, "This is a startling finding and is indicative of price-sensitivity in the golf travel market.

"While a destination's variety of golf courses, the price of the break and whether golf is part of the package remain the key influencing factors, clearly UK golfers are weighing up the additional cost of transporting their clubs in deciding whether or not to fly abroad for their golf break."

According to Sports Marketing Surveys, there are 3.9 million golfers in the UK (1.6 million of which play at least 12 times a year), the largest golf market in Europe. A quarter of these regular golfers take an annual break where the primary reason is to play golf - whether domestic or overseas, so factors such as additional airline fees for equipment will have a significant impact on international golf tourism.

"Overall, the research provides interesting insights into how UK golfers go about selecting their golf breaks, where they look for recommendations and advice, as well as the important factors that determine their holiday choices," added Grimster. "We have also looked at the increasing role of social media as a channel of communication and influence."

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