“Golf is one of Marbella’s most important tourist resources”
Although only an occasional golfer, due to her tight schedule and commitments as mayoress of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz is fully aware that golf is a prime tourist resource in the municipality, and she wholeheartedly supports initiatives that promote the sector with a view to attracting more golfers to this privileged area on the Costa del Sol. Indeed, many golfers will be unaware that Marbella has more golf courses (15) than any other municipality in Spain.
What does golf as a tourist resource mean for Marbella?
It is one of our most impressive attractions. Golf is an extremely important tourist resource for Marbella, with the added value of also attracting tourists throughout the year, and this has a significant effect on creating employment and wealth for the municipality. You could say that golf is a major industry in Marbella. It is one of the most solid bases that Marbella has at a tourist level because it attracts many visitors who spend considerably more than the average tourist.
Furthermore, the golfing high season coincides with the low season months for the sun and beach segment, so it makes a key contribution to easing the seasonal nature of tourism, encouraging tourists to visit all-year-round. Apart from generating business for hotels, restaurants and car rental companies, it also has a positive impact on residential tourism, as many people end up buying a home once they discover the destination’s many favourable aspects.
A diversity of golfing amenities is a key feature of the municipality, with courses suitable for all tastes and budgets…
That’s true. In Marbella golfers can find quantity, variety and, above all else, quality, both in design – with some courses created by Robert Trent Jones and Javier Arana – and maintenance, thanks to great work by the greenkeepers. There are courses for all preferences but with one common denominator: they are all great courses. Golfers like to play various different courses and they can find that here just a few minutes away by car.
It is not all that well known in the world of golf, either here in this country or overseas, that Marbella has more golf courses than any other municipality in Spain. Do you not believe that this fact should be highlighted more in the media?
Yes, for sure. I believe this particular tourist attraction, which means so much for Marbella, does require greater promotion. It is something we are truly justified in boasting about, and we can and should take more advantage of it.
Do you believe that people are aware of just how important the tens of thousands of golfers who visit Marbella every year are in generating wealth and employment?
I don’t know if we are sufficiently aware of this. I believe – and obviously this is on my mind – that we need to boost the golf sector in Marbella because, in effect, everyone knows that this is a privileged destination but it is also true that, when it comes to numbers, golf makes a spectacular contribution to a tourist destination like Marbella.
There have been two great golf visionaries in Marbella: one was José Banús, with Royal Las Brisas; and the other, Norberto Goizueta, who developed Royal Guadalmina. Banús also managed to bring the World Cup to Marbella, as well as leading players of the time, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. It is not going to be easy to once again host international tournaments of that calibre…
Major tournaments are a magnificent promotional tool for a tourist destination but we have to be aware that these events cost a lot of money, and it is not easy to find sponsors willing to invest the large amounts required for these kinds of tournaments. The Spanish Ladies Open has just been held at Royal Guadalmina, and last year it was also held at a local club, Aloha, with the great Marbella-born golfer Azahara Muñoz winning on both occasions.
As was the case with this particular tournament, we as public authorities – local, intra-municipal and regional – should be supporting these kinds of initiatives. Marbella, the Costa del Sol, Andalucía and the whole of Spain need to be taking advantage of golf’s pull as a tourist attraction.
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Marbella offers exceptional options, beginning with magnificent weather for most of the year – we have an enviable microclimate. Then there is an extensive array of leisure amenities, for both daytime and evening; internationally renowned gastronomy; four marinas, including the famous Puerto Banús; major commercial centres; boutiques selling the world’s top brands; magnificent hotel establishments, including leading global chains; an extraordinary old town; 27 kilometres of beaches…