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  • Gavin King

    Tropic Now editor

    Email Gavin King

    Golf tourism set to take flight in tropical north

    Our region's top golf courses are joining forces to boost the potentially lucrative golfing visitation market.

    Golfers from around the world will be lured to the tropical north with the region's top courses set to combine resources and tee off on a new tourism campaign. 

    Paradise Palms, Cairns Golf Club, Half Moon Bay, and Port Douglas courses at Sheraton Mirage and Palmer Sea Reef are finalising a first-of-its-kind agreement to sell the tropical north as a golfer's haven.

    They will take on leading golf tourism destinations internationally such as Hawaii and domestic leaders the Murray River region and the Gold Coast to capture a slice of the world's golfing market.

    A 2014 report by the Australian Golf Industry Council estimated that golf tourism expenditure was worth between $820 million and $1.09 billion, including $180 million from international visitors.

    Globally, the value of golf tourism exceeds $25 billion and that figure is growing.

    The report found that most golf tourists travel with family and friends and typically play three to five rounds over one or two courses. New South Wales currently dominates golf tourism visits, capturing around 40% of all domestic golf trips, followed by Queensland with with 22% and Victoria with 18%.

    Paradise Palms general manager Peter Blackburn, who is overseeing a major revamp of the club for new owner Darren Halpin, believes the benefits of the golf tourism market has been underplayed for some time in the tropical north.

    Paradise Palms recently held its "Weekend in Paradise", a three-day event celebrating its new look and upgrades ahead of the Qantas Golf Club Cairns Classic 2016, being held at the course from July 4-7.

    That event is expected to inject more than $500,000 into the region's economy.

    "We're incredibly excited about what's happening here at Paradise Palms, the new hole is well and truly in play, the grounds staff are working non-stop on the course and it's never looked better," Mr Blackburn said.

    "There's been a lot of work going on behind the scenes and now it's all coming to fruition. 

    "We're also really excited to partner with other clubs and courses in the tropical north to boost golf tourism to this region.

    "We're putting together a new website and campaign involving the top courses in Cairns and Port Douglas because there is very large potential to do what places like Hawaii and Gold Coast have been doing for some years in terms of promoting golfing holidays."