Croatia plans to invest more than 210 million euro into developing golf courses in the country over the next 7 years. Croatia only has to look at Turkey to see how from zero one can turn into a serious golf destination.
In 1994 the tourist town of Belek did not have one single golf course, today it is considered one of the most popular golf destinations in the world, with 16 luxury golf courses in a 30km radius and plans to build 4 more by next year. Belek even attracted the great Tiger Woods together with the 7 of the world’s best golfers to play in a tournament there.
The Croatian government realise how lucrative golf “tourism” can be and the Ministry of Tourism have a strategy till 2020 which will see them build 30 recreational golf courses in that time.
Golf is big business and Croatia need to develop tourism which is more than just sun and sea. According to recent research a golf-tourist spends on average 1,300 euros in a week at a destination, in Ireland though they are spending up to three times the average, 155,000 golfers bring in around 204 million euros profit to Ireland.
“The average golfer goes away on holiday for 7 days. In that period they want to play 6 games. They want to try at least 3 different courses and maybe even 6 which are within an hours drive of each other. On top of that they are spending on accommodation, food, and they will recommend the place to friends. That is how we need to attract those kind of tourists,” said PGA professional Miro Raic to Jutarnji list.
There are more than 32,000 golf courses in the world, Germany has 600, Austria 190 and Croatia’s neighbours Slovenia has 7 18-hole and 7-9 hole courses. Croatia’s Mediterranean tourism rivals Spain has 352 golf courses and Portugal has 86.