New golf course at Nkonyeni to bolster sport tourism
Iven the value of business generated through golf and by golfers, the sport has seen the emergence of what is known as Golf Tourism, which in itself is a form of Sport Tourism. Golf tourism is the term used to describe trips undertaken by persons for whic
Although the concept of Sport Tourism is still relatively new, especially in African destinations, recent technological developments have aided its substantial growth with Swaziland significantly claiming her share of the cake.
The ease of access to information online on matches and fixtures for various sporting codes have made planning for travelling and participating quite easier than ever before. Every year, thousands travel to distant and near destinations to participate at various sporting events either as competitors or spectators, generating significant revenue for hosts as tourism receipts.
The growth of Sport Tourism in Swaziland is not legging behind given the numerous sporting tournaments that the country has hosted across various disciplines.
Although soccer, by and large, is the biggest sport that contributes to domestic travel within Swaziland, golf and cycling are among the leading disciplines that attract visitors into the country.
The presence and sustainable upkeep of the country’s golf courses has seen the sport grow by leaps and bounds over the years. What even aided such growth was the establishment of the King’s Golf Cup, which has not only become Swaziland’s biggest golf tournament but a regional showpiece. His Majesty King Mswati III’s patronage of the King’s Cup has seen the sport and sport tourism in the country growing tremendously.
The event is attended by both professional and amateur golfers from several
Gcountries, some of which include South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as locals.
Given the value of business generated through golf and by golfers, the sport has seen the emergence of what is known as Golf Tourism, which in itself is a form of Sport Tourism. Golf tourism is the term used to describe trips undertaken by persons for which the main purpose is to play golf. Golf may also be pursued as a secondary activity (for example, someone on a cultural holiday playing a round during their vacation).
The global golf tourism market is worth over $17 billion, according to the International Association of Golfing Tour Operators (IAGTO). 56 million people play golf worldwide: 26.7 million in the United States, 5 million in Canada, 5.5 million in continental Europe, 14 million in Japan, and 3.8 million in the United Kingdom. Of this 56 million, between five per cent and 10 per cent travel overseas each year for the main purpose being to play golf – therefore making the international size of the golf tourism market between 2.8 million and 5.6 million. Through the King’s Cup, Swaziland is already making inroads in tapping into such a potentially huge market.
Golfers who have sampled Swaziland’s golf courses are always impressed beyond measure. Of the biggest courses, Royal Swazi Spa and Nkonyeni golf courses are among the most popular. The sport is set to bring even more tourists in the near future as Nkonyeni is currently building a second 18-hole golf course at their estate. Currently, they have a bush-veld 18-hole golf course. The new one will be a links golf course (a course that is set free from bushes). According to Nkonyeni management, the new course will meet international standards and would make hosting of international tournaments possible.
While the first nine holes of the new course would be completed by next year, the entire course is anticipated to be complete and functional by the year 2020. This resonates with national development aspirations for 2022 as envisioned by His Majesty.
The development of world-class sporting infrastructure is surely among other projects that would materialise Swaziland’s national discourse towards 2022. Who knows, one day Swaziland could play host to such big international golfing stars as Tiger Woods among others.
The STA wishes Nkonyeni all the best as they embark on this ambitious and game-changing project.