The visiting media are here as part of a visit, hosted and supported by Fáilte Ireland, which has designed an itinerary to showcase the top golf courses on the Wild Atlantic Way. Golf generates over €200m from visitors every year.
The week-long visit is aimed at giving the US media an opportunity to experience first-hand a diverse range of courses in Donegal such as the Glashedy Links Course at Ballyliffin Golf Club and the more informal and relaxing Portsalon Golf Club. The group will also play at Sandy Hills at Rosapenna.
The group will also play the award-winning links course at Portstewart Golf Club before finishing at Sligo’s Rosses Point course.
Among the group visiting is John Garrity, a senior writer with Sports Illustrated, which has a circulation of 23m alone. Mr Garrity has connections in the West, with ancestors coming from Carne, Co Mayo.
The head of international publicity with Fáilte Ireland, Ciara Sugrue, said Ireland’s wide array of golf courses are a huge draw for US tourists.
“North Americans are among the biggest spenders during their stay here in Ireland, so we welcome these top US golf media who will spread the word on our world class golf courses and the Wild Atlantic Way to their readers and followers at home,” she said.
“Our own research shows that the golf sector generates over €200m from overseas visitors for the Irish economy and, with 200,000 international visitors playing golf while in Ireland last year, each golfing visitor is worth on average two-and-a-half times that of the average tourist.”
Ireland welcomed more than 1m US visitors last year, who generated over €866m. Fáilte Ireland said visitor numbers are already experiencing double-digit growth on 2014.
“We in Fáilte Ireland believe that trips such as these encourage and help maintain Ireland’s reputation as a destination for high-quality and challenging golf and, with the dollar being so strong, we hope to see many more American golfing visitors to our shores this year,” Ms Sugrue said.
Meanwhile, John Creedon is to tour the entire 2,500km of the Wild Atlantic Way from Kinsale in Cork right up to Donegal’s Malin Head as part of a new three-part RTÉ series, Creedon’s Wild Atlantic Way.