Developing and harnessing golf tourism and film tourism as economic drivers
Dr Peter Bolan, Dr Karise Hutchinson and Mr Matthew Kearney (Ulster)
This presentation explains that golf and film tourism are both highly lucrative and Northern Ireland must develop and plan for them in a more strategic manner. First it outlines findings from an extensive study (utilising surveys, interviews, and observation methods internationally and domestically) by Ulster Business School, which analysed and evaluated the Northern Ireland golf tourism product by focusing on perspectives of golf tourists and specialist golf tour operators with an integral economic impact assessment of the recent Irish Open 2012 at Royal Portrush. The presentation highlights how, if leveraged properly, this high-spend form of tourism can bring job creation, new business development, urban and coastal regeneration, improved quality of hotel/restaurant provision and improved image as a tourist destination. Thereafter the presentation focuses on film tourism, which can also bring enormous opportunities in terms of global destination image as well as economic impact and development. It highlights that there is an urgent need to capitalise on the tourism potential of on-going film productions in Northern Ireland, explaining strategic opportunities for destination development and enhancement based on global online research (netnography) undertaken with the fan-base of Game of Thrones, and further supplemented with analysis of key informant interviews with industry stakeholders which have recently begun Game of Thrones tours and activity based experiences. It concludes outlining new insights that could help to inform new strategic directions for developing Northern Ireland’s tourism product in this area.