Hole in One
Alma Vidaurre Arias | Economy | El Nuevo Diario
Nicaragua still does not count the number of tourists who are attracted because of golf.
Nicaragua, with barely four golf courses, has a big potential in becoming a destination for executives interested in this sport and who represent the strategic key in the tourism of this country, stated sources close to the subject.
On a golf course is where you can sign big contracts, stated Gustavo Montiel, General Managaer in Nejapa Golf & Country Club, one of the golf courses in Nicaragua.
It is not counted the number of tourist attracted because of golf in this country, but Montiel argues that the offer of various golf resorts on the Pacific coast is attracting the attention of foreign executives.
"The popularization of golf sport in the world is undeniable, the legions of golfers in the world are counted in tens of millions, and in Nicaragua the number is increasing every day (...) Nicaragua as a tourist destination has much potential golf growth, " stated Montiel.
Claudia Silva, Director of Marketing and Public Relations of Hotel Mukul Resort Hotel in Guacalito de la Isla, explained that in golf games people get to know the preferences of potential partners, facilitating the signing of business contracts.
“In a match of 3 or 4 hours you get to know better other golfers, you get to establish business and personal conversations, something that others sports won’t give”, stated Silva.
Golfers are a class of tourists "important for the country", as they are usually businessmen and high purchasing power professionals, explained the General Manager of Gran Pacifica Resort, Adiak Barahona.
Los golfistas son una clase de turistas “importantes para el país”, ya que por lo general son empresarios o profesionales de alto poder adquisitivo, explicó el gerente general de Gran Pacífica Resort, Adiak Barahona.
High Purchasing Power
In Nicaragua a golfer spends around US$145 to US$900 plus taxes, stated sources who promote the sport.
Among the round of golf, food and beverages in the field, using a caddy (golfer assistant), golf clubs rental and purchases of balls, gloves, hats and shirts with the club logo in the store, the average consumption per visit may reach U.S. $ 220 in the Nejapa Golf & Country Club.
In Guacalito de la Isla, on the other hand, the tourist can invest up to $ 600 to qualify for three rounds of games, stated Silva.
In the case of Gran Pacifica, golf creates a multiplier effect that benefits the economies of Masaya, Granada, Leon and San Juan del Sur, as tourists who practice the sport, also request tours to these destinations, said Barahona.
In this resort, a golfer and its partner can spent around US$900 plus tax for each day of stay.
"As the sport demand increases in our country, as it has increased tourism, the sport will prosper in Nicaragua," said Barahona.
In countries like Costa Rica the promotion of the sport allows around 34,000 people annually to practice golf, according to various reports.
Every year, activities related with golf (stays and sport items purchases) generate US$ 87.6 million in revenue to Costa Rica.
In the United States there are approximately 29 million golfers, with annual purchasing power of US $ 95,000 each, on average, Barahona said.
“Golf is an expensive sport and I don’t think that will ever chant. It’s a tourist that, at least, plays and go on vacations to different golf courses, at least three times a year” stated Silva.
Building more Golf Courses
Nicaragua, according to Gran Pacifica’s general manager, needs at least 10 more professional golf courses, to become in an international destination to executives and lovers of this sport.
“We are going in the right direction, but this will take at least another decade (…) Golf is an attractive partner for tourism, real estate and corporate social responsibility activities”, added Barahona.
90% of golfer tourists visiting Gran Pacifica are from United States and Canada, the remaining are Nicaraguan lot owners within the resort.
Meanwhile, in Hacienda Iguana Golf and Beach Club, tourists who visit the place do it for the beautiful beaches of Tola, Rivas, but 15% of the visitors "do for golf," said Luis Sanchez, administrator of the place.
This sport generates, on average, an income of between US$4,000 and US$5,000 to the premises Sanchez emphasized.
Generally, Hacienda Iguana Golf and Beach Club welcome American tourists, though occasionally also come Asians.
The promotion of golf, according to Silva, can be a key to the Nicaraguan tourism, but it requires more fields.
"Golfers around the world are like surfers; where the fields are they go just to have the experience. If Nicaragua becomes known among golfers, it will be because we have at least two or three very famous fields", said Silva.
Nicaragua is the country in Central America that generates less revenue from tourism. This year aims to reach US$480 million and receive 1.3 million of visitors.
With the promotion of golf, the industry aims to capture part of one of the segments of tourism with the higher purchasing power.