EDITORIAL: A tourism ace

Golf courses bring millions of dollars to Parksville Qualicum Beach every year.

Golf courses bring millions of dollars to Parksville Qualicum Beach every year.

People who golf generally have a considerable amount of disposable income. Tourists who come here to golf have a lot of money to spend.

Yes, it’s good for the golf courses. Perhaps they get $100/day for every non-resident who shows up to golf. However, the spin-off for other businesses in the region is even higher.

Outside the golf course property, a conservative estimate would suggest a tourist will spend at least $300/day in hotels, meals, drinks, gifts, etc. A foursome coming in from, say, Alberta would spend $1,600/day here, or more than $11,000 in a week.

We started thinking about these numbers after attending a news conference last week announcing a big event for the region, the Canadian University/College Golf Championships at Morningstar Golf Club May 31-June 3, 2016.

The event will bring 156 of the best young golfers in the country here, along with coaches, officials, parents and others. It’s estimated 500 people will come to this region that week, specifically for this event.

Economic spin-off multipliers can be dicey. They can be over-inflated to make the point of some economic development professional or another.

However, we believe golf is a solid money-maker for this region. We also believe it does not get the attention and thanks and support it deserves.

Pulling off an event like what’s going to happen at Morningstar next year — and the prestigious B.C. Amateur Championship at Pheasant Glen, also next year — takes a lot of work and sacrifice. Members pay a lot of money to play these courses each year, and they must give up their course to these events for a week or more. What’s more, these same members, who one might think would resent these events, fill up the volunteer list. We’re told Morningstar will have no problem getting the 150 volunteers it needs to make the event next year work smoothly and these people will come from the course’s membership roll. That’s impressive.

Municipal governments and business organizations in Parksville Qualicum Beach should do more to support the local golf scene — the courses are doing their part.