The results from the 2019 Canadian Golf Economic Impact Study are in and the golf industry produced $16.5 billion in direct economic impact across our nation, including $3.4 billion in British Columbia. With one of the longest golf seasons in Canada, golf-related expenditures in BC were second only to Ontario, which has more than double the number of courses.
Approximately 4.8 million trips motivated by golf occurred in 2019, generating $8.6 billion in expenditures nationwide including accommodation, transportation, and food and beverage. Research has shown that golf tourists generally possess higher income and expenditures in relation to the average traveller, and with millions of golf enthusiasts worldwide, they represent an attractive and valuable market segment for tourism destinations.
BC is home to over 300 courses, which generated an average of $3.2M per operator, the highest-level Canada. The golf industry in BC also supports over 50,000 jobs and makes significant charitable impacts. Since 2016, the MacKenzie Tour GolfBC Championships at Gallagher’s Canyon have donated over $600,000 to local and provincial charities.
The 2019 results showed a significant increase in contribution to Canada’s GDP since the previous study; however, it does not factor in 2020 and COVID-19’s impact on the Canadian golf industry. In July, BC courses reported a year-over-year increase in rounds played of 39%. Throughout 2020, Golf Kelowna courses saw overall paid rounds increase by 14%.
Golf tourism often occurs in destinations with unique environmental settings and the Okanagan is no exception. Kelowna is well recognized by both casual and dedicated players as one of Canada’s premier golf destinations with picturesque views and outstanding playing conditions. As Kelowna begins to recover from the pandemic in 2021, golf will remain a safe outdoor activity where physical distancing can be observed and residents and regional visitors can take advantage of favourable early season conditions and the ability to book short-term and last-minute travel. Tourism Kelowna continues to promote our golf industry, which offers compelling opportunities for world-class golf experiences in the heart of the Okanagan Valley.