Operator: Agents' Europe golf market share rises

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NEW YORK -- The agent community is gaining ground in the big-ticket European golf market, according to David Brice, director of Golf International.

Brice said that in 1988, Golf International's first year of operations, a modest 2% of the company's clients were booked through agents.

By 2000, business had increased by more than 3,000% and agents accounted for almost 45% of total sales, he said, "a response for which we are grateful, following years of actively encouraging the travel agent community to get on board the golf bandwagon."

Brice profiled the average booking in 2000 as a party of four taking a one-week trip to the leading golf destinations of Scotland or Ireland at a cost of $3,300 per person. On a $13,200 sale, the agent commission is $1,320.

In 2001, he predicts agents will account for more than one-half of the company's total sales.

To help service requests for golf travel vacations, Golf International developed a comprehensive Web site highlighting golf in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe. The site includes photos and descriptions of more than 300 courses, details of suggested hotels, transportation, sightseeing, dining and shopping.

There are, for instance, 44 courses detailed for Ireland, six courses alone at Scotland's famous St. Andrews resort, 16 courses in Estoril and the southern Algarve in Portugal and 12 courses on Spain's Costa del Sol.

Other Web information includes suggested itineraries as well as the company's selection of packages and escorted tours.

The company's brochure, the Complete Golfing Vacation Guide, is available to agents.

For more information, contact Golf International at (800) 833-1389 or (212) 986-9176; e-mail: [email protected], or visit the Web site at www.golfinternational.com.

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