Tee Times Golf Agency is one of the Portuguese leading Agencies in the golf industry.
The pandemic brought «many uncertainties», but Carlos Ferreira, founder and manager of Tee Times Golf Agency, one of the main golf agencies in the country, based in Vilamoura, has a deep conviction: “This is a «strategic sector for the Algarve that we cannot let die».
The Tee Times Golf Agency foundation history, about 20 years ago, can be explained by “a sequence of coincidences”.
«There was the opening of low cost in aviation, the development of the real estate business and there started to be another type of visitors who either had a home in the Algarve or could already travel more autonomously», says the businessman to Sul Informação.
Based on this, golfers now need someone to provide them with the “green fee” service, a type of pass that allows them to play the golf courses, with discounts.
«Initially, people came to the Algarve to play golf through traditional international tour operators, with a complete package, including travel and accommodation. With the “green fees “service that ceased to exist and golf became a more accessible product for everyone, explained Carlos Ferreira.
The challenge in the golf sector was a complement to Carlos Ferreira’s already vast experience in the tourism, started in the hotel industry about 40 years ago.
Today, he has agreements with all the golf courses in Portugal and Spain, with excellent results.
«It is an experience that is being very interesting, with sustainable growth. In 2019, we ended the year with 95 thousand rounds, very good numbers », he adds.
2020 was also going well … until March. «Our turnover fell by more than 75% last year», laments Carlos Ferreira.
The pandemic came to change the sector in so many scrolls in the Algarve.
To give an idea, at the regional level, according to data from the Association of Hoteliers and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA), the average number of rounds per golf course (18 holes) was 1205, 21.1% below that recorded in the homologous month in 2019.
Vaccination is advancing around the world and offers hope for the resumption of travel and tourism, but the prospects for this year remain “very uncertain”.
«People are withdrawn, ask quotations, ask for prices, but confirmations are not happening because we still do not have concrete information that it will be possible to travel to Portugal and Spain and under what conditions. It is all a great uncertainty, and we have to wait to see how everything will go », says Carlos Ferreira.
In the opinion of the Tee Times official, it is possible to “do more and better” to support the tourism sector, and golf in particularly.
«There may be some golf players here, from residents, but it is not these people who count – the value is residual. They will give a movement of 10, 20% to the golf courses, but that is not enough to the sustainability of the sector », considers Carlos Ferreira.
«Everything is so uncertain that we cannot have a firm optimism and that is what is lacking. We have had some windows that opened, but that passed by. Last year, in September, we had a good reserve spike, for example, with an October that was also interesting, but then everything went down again ”, he adds.
What is certain is that this is a «strategic sector for the Algarve». «The industry is the best in Europe, the golf courses are well organized and structured. We have an operation that is very good worldwide, we are at the top worldwide, in terms of the service provided », he stresses.
«We cannot let this sector die», concludes Carlos Ferreira.