Secrets of the rise of Walloon tourism

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The business card of Wallonia golf, it is to him that one has it. Pierre Coenegrachts, the deputy director general of Wallonia Brussels Tourism (WBT), aims, it is true, to sell this wealth abroad. The goal of WBT? That Wallonia is well placed in the catalogs of foreign golf tour operators. “Golf is developing considerably in the tourism sector. It is important to sensitize golf players to an opening on this type of public because there is a real demand from abroad such as the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain and Scandinavia. It is necessary to register Wallonia on the international golf map “.

To meet this demand, WBT helps to set up the reception of foreign golfers. Thus, some 40 packages, which bring together the various players in the sector as well as that of accommodation, have been set up. To promote it, WBT has published a booklet, created a website and participates in fairs and exhibitions. “Golf is one of our affinity marketing priorities. We are beyond the niche market. The sector has understood this well since new golf courses are building hotels on their own estate with a spa and restaurant, such as the one in Naxhelet which offers 35 rooms or the one of the Emperor and its 20 rooms, “says Pierre Coenegrachts.

In the same vein, a second step is about to be taken with the signing in early May of an agreement with IAGTO (International Association of Tour Operators of Golf). Starting this summer, she will be in charge of establishing an objective inventory of what exists in Wallonia in the golf sector and thus to establish the tourism potential.

In the eyes of Pierre Coenegrachts, the great strength of golf Wallonia is its diversity. “We house different golf courses that are closer to each other. A tourist can very well play the 3 day card, 3 golf courses. And we also have a rich offer of diversity for accompanying persons. That’s what we highlight. ”

One of the targets is Scandinavia. “It is home to 600,000 golfers. However, the climatic conditions of the Swedes, for example, do not allow them to play all year round. But Wallonia is very close. At present, it is the royal golf courses that seduce, the British in particular. “There is that of Ciergnon, the Royal Fagnes, that of Sart Tilman, … No matter the course, they enjoy a reputation and a history. ”

Another asset of Wallonia: golf equipment. “When we see what exists abroad, we realize that Belgium is very well off.” The example of the fabulous golf Etretat. His course seems a must, however, the clubhouse would lack comfort. A comfort that seems yet essential for a loyalty of a target audience. “It is very difficult to estimate the number of tourists that golf attracts from us,” says Pierre Coenegrachts. But the quantity does not seem essential. “I prefer to welcome a couple or a family who plays golf than a plane filled with Chinese. The latter make only a very short stopover in Belgium and sleep in chains of low cost hotels or owned by Chinese capital. They concentrate their purchasing power in shopping and will probably not come back. As for the first, they will certainly participate in some tours, enjoy our terroir and our gastronomy. They are the ones WBT would like to seduce and of course retain …