Antalya’s drive to boost golf share
Turkey is hoping to lure more golfers than ever before to its top courses - and French golfers are at the top of the list.
A project by a development agency and Turkish Airlines is aiming to help boost Turkey's share of the golf market by inviting representatives from French golf travel agencies to visit Belek's golf courses.
The Western Development Agency (BAKA) has created a team to help promote sports tourism in Antalya, focussing on creating links with other countries. And first on the list is France. There are more than a million licensed golfers in France, and the French are a big part of the international golfing scene.
The French usually head to Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Tunisia for golf, but BAKA is hoping that Turkey's courses will start to lure French golfers away from Morocco and Tunisia and toward Turkey.
A BAKA spokesperson says that the French representatives will travel to Antalya to see Belek's hotels and golf courses.
Belek is Turkey's prime golfing destination, with 14 world-class standard courses and accompanying luxury hotels, all geared towards the sport. The International Association of Golf Tour Operators has previously selected Belek as Europe's golf destination, and it's beginning to attract attention on the world circuit.
Women heading to Belek for Ladies Open
Some of the world's best female golfers will head to Turkey in May to compete in the 7th Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
Belek's Carya Golf Club will host 126 players from 32 countries, who will descend on Antalya for the Turkish leg of the Ladies European Tour from May 17-20.
The UK's best female golfer Laura Davies, who has 80 tournament wins under her belt, will be in attendance, as will be other golfing names like Ann-Kathrin Lindner, Rebecca Artis, Valentine Derrey, Camilla Lennarth, Florentyna Parker, Julie Greciet, Connie Chen, Ssu-Chia Cheng, Becky Brewerton and Melissa Reid.
The tour will continue throughout the year, with players competing in New Zealand, China, Morocco, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Scotland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany, India, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.
The tournament will be broadcast all over the world. Last year, three billion viewers in 80 countries tuned in to watch the action. This year, the stakes have been doubled, and the winner is up for 500,000 euros.
The tournament offers a big chance to promote Belek and the Antalya region.