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Visitors to Scotland's 500 golf courses an expect first-class tailor-made service from tourism businesses with the launch of Welcome Golfer - the latest training initiative from Tourism Training Scotland (TTS).

Welcome Golfer is being introduced in time for the 1999 Golf Open at Carnoustie in July with Letham Grange Resort, near Arbroath the first hotel and golf course to sign up for the initiative.

Recent findings highlight golfing holidays as a growing sector for Scottish tourism with visitors spending over £100m each year.

Welcome Golfer is an extensions to the popular customer service training programed, Welcome Host, and is specifically designed for employees in contact with golfers, eg. in golf club shops, hotels and B&Bs.

In a bid to meet the expectations of thousands of golf enthusiasts visiting Scotland this year, TTS has introduced the training programme and accompanying video to identify their unique needs and facilities.

Some of the recommendations for encouraging repeat business are:

  • increasing golf club access to visitors and not just members
  • offering extra facilities such as drying areas and storage for golf clubs
  • recognising the requirement to offer flexible eating times
  • having knowledge of local golf courses

Stephen Bailie, tourism training advisor at Scottish Enterprise Tayside originally identified the opportunity to tap into the golf market and believes that this a great opportunity for Scotland to maximize on events such as the Ryder Cup and Open.

"Businesses understand the value of golf tourism, however, we must highlight the importance of spending more time meeting the specific needs of golfing visitors as this will help businesses to differentiate themselves against global competition and help ensure repeat visits in the future."