Golf tourism represents an opportunity to diversify and expand the Dominican tourism offer. Betting on this sector means attracting an “exclusive” tourist with high purchasing power.
This niche, whose main issuer is the United States, is one of the most coveted by many tourist destinations. Golfers tend to travel in groups and like to live exclusive experiences.
According to Teddy de Lara, executive director of Target Consultores de Mercadeo, golf is one of the segments that generates the most income in the sports segment. “In economic terms, golf brought in close to US$400 million in 2019.”
During the DR Golf Travel Exchange 2021, which is being held at the Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa hotel and is organized by Target Marketing Consultants, the axiscitvo pointed out that the expenses they make include exclusive transportation, shopping and visits to expensive restaurants. “The golfer likes to consume and does not like All Inclusive.”
“When you say that the hotel industry contributes US$8,000 or US$9,000 million to the gross domestic product (GDP), there is a part of golf tourism,” said the executive.
De Lara affirmed that “for the Dominican Republic, it is clear that the U.S. market is vital, if we really want to return to the dynamism of years like 2018 and 2019, when our industry grew by 17% and 14%, respectively, when some 230,000 and 262,800 golfers and their families were received in those years.”
In addition to the U.S. market, the industry is working to capture tourists from Colombia, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Canada, Poland, Spain, Germany, among others.
“This is a very special tourist”, as described by Ana Laura Moreno, Sales Director of Secrets Cap Cana, who emphasizes that, in order to focus on this niche, it is necessary to have a “very exclusive and well-presented product”, since this is an informed traveler who regularly visits other countries.
De Lara pointed out that there are around 28 golf courses in the country, but “the professionals are 18”.
In the context of the covid-19 pandemic, golf represents an escape for those who want to be in contact with nature. The Dominican Republic’s courses provide these experiences and “spectacular” views.
“It is a sport that is played individually. It is not massive,” said De Lara. As for the sanitation protocols that should be applied would be the cleaning of the carts and clubs, in case they are rented.
For the Sales Director of Secrets Cap Cana, golfers represent an important market within the reactivation of the sector. “We are betting on the Dominican Republic as a golf destination.”
Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship of the PGA Tours in the Dominican Republic.
He highlighted that the country’s offer is attractive, as it has several courses and hotels, such as the Secrets Cap Cana, which have a varied offer for players. One of them is Punta Espada Golf Club, which is accessible to its guests.
The director of golf course operations at Puntacana Resort & Club, Hiram Silfa Aybar, affirms that the sector has been growing. “Here in the area we have around 13 golf courses and we receive around 7.9 million inbound and outbound tourists.”
With these figures, Silfa Aybar is working with tour operators to attract more tourists. “The Dominican Republic is not just a beach destination.”
Puntacana Resort & Club has Corales Golf Club, a “very exclusive” course, which costs US$395 in high season and US$295 in low season, and Cana Golf Club, “which is a little more affordable for social tournaments and local public”, is priced at US$165 and US$140.