Shane Lowry takes the applause of the crowd as he wins The 148th Open at Royal Portrush a year ago.
MEMBERS of the Irish Golf Tour Operator Association (IGTOA) arrived in Northern Ireland this week on a golf led familiarisation programme organised by Tourism NI in a bid to promote the golf and wider tourism product in Northern Ireland.
The trip provides the IGTOA operators with an opportunity to engage and network with the tourism industry as well as play golf at some of Northern Ireland’s finest courses including Royal Portrush, Ardglass, Royal County Down and Castlerock golf clubs.
On July 21, the group played a round of golf at Royal Portrush, exactly one year on from when Irish golfer Shane Lowry was named Champion Golf of the Year at The 148th Open.
John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism NI commented: “This is a fantastic opportunity for industry representatives from Northern Ireland to showcase our superb golf and hospitality offering to the IGTOA golf operators, adhering to the health and safety protocols in place.
“Golf visitors are worth over £52 million to our economy annually and The Open alone contributed £106m to the economy and was attended by 240,000 spectators.
“This is a very difficult time for our golf clubs and the wider industry with most international golf business postponed until 2021.
"Our golf clubs and wider sector have been significantly affected by the pandemic and we look forward to welcoming visitors back from around the world to enjoy our fantastic golf product.”
Denis Kane, Chairman of IGTOA commented: “The IGTOA Tour Operators are delighted to be back in Northern Ireland to experience all it has to offer as a premium golf destination.
"As the promoter of the island of Ireland as a leading international golf destination, this golf day for delegates is a fantastic opportunity for golf tour operators to witness for themselves why such a prestigious event in the golfing calendar chose to come to Royal Portrush Golf Club and help to spread the message that Northern Ireland is a world class golf destination.
"This is the perfect venue for our clients to play their favourite sport and we are excited to share our experience in Northern Ireland with them.”