As Scotland marks one year to go until the Solheim Cup, the prestigious event could be a catalyst for a growth in the female golfer visitor market, says VisitScotland.
Renowned as the biggest and most prestigious women’s golf event on the planet, The Solheim Cup sees the best 12 golfers from Europe compete against their American counterparts in an event that mirrors The Ryder Cup in the men’s game.
Taking place at Gleneagles from 13-15 September 2019, just five years after the Perthshire venue staged what is regarded as the best-ever Ryder Cup, the event will be screened to more than 600 million homes worldwide and see 100,000 people through the gates during the course of the week.
And VisitScotland believes the event can be a catalyst for increasing the number of women coming to Scotland to play golf, which currently stands at just 12 per cent of all golfing visitors.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Despite Scotland’s international reputation as the Home of Golf and a booming golf tourism industry worth in excess of £286 million per year, only 12 per cent of golfing visitors to the country are currently female. With a global push on female golf participation and female golf participation in some countries in excess of 40 per cent, there is huge growth potential in the female golf visitor market.
“The 2019 Solheim Cup being held at Gleneagles will once again see Scotland in the golfing spotlight and represents a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to reiterate that it is the most open and accessible golf destination in the world.
“Seeing these elite-level athletes compete on such a stunning stage as Gleneagles can only serve to inspire future visitors to Scotland and it is important the country as a whole does all it can to maximise the potential The 2019 Solheim Cup will offer.”
A number of Authorised Tour Operators have already been appointed to promote Solheim Cup packages in key markets to maximise international attendance at The 2019 Solheim Cup, while it is hoped that more tour operators will develop golf tourism packages aimed at the female market.
A recent study commissioned by Scottish Enterprise highlighted the growth potential for women’s golf by recommending a focus on markets where female participation is high and where there are easy and direct access routes to Scotland including the USA, Germany, Scandinavia, France and the Netherlands – all of which are key Solheim Cup target markets.
Mr Roughead added: “No other country can match Scotland’s history and heritage in golf and with almost 600 courses the length and breadth of the country there is something for every level of golfer in Scotland. The value of a golfing tourist to Scotland is clear, with £5 spent elsewhere in the visitor economy for every £1 they spend actually playing golf. By maximising the potential of bringing more women to Scotland to play golf, Scotland’s golf tourism industry can continue to thrive and lead the way in the global development of the game it gave to the world.”
Scotland is considered a world-leader in investment in women’s golf events through support of the Ricoh Women’s British Open and Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open over the past decade, culminating in its hosting of The 2019 Solheim Cup. Gleneagles was also the venue for the inaugural European Golf Team Championships in August as part of the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, which saw men and women compete together for equal prize money for the first time in history.
Scotland previously hosted The Solheim Cup in 1992 and 2000 at Dalmahoy and Loch Lomond respectively although the event has grown significantly in international stature since then.
Tickets are now on sale for The 2019 Solheim Cup, priced from £10 for adults with under-16s attending free of charge.
For more on the Solheim Cup, go to https://solheimcup2019.com/