For most of you who are traveling golfers reading this, IAGTO may not mean as much to you as to those of us in the golf tourism industry. Did you know that IAGTO Golf Tour Operators are responsible for 90% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide? There are approximately 680 golf tour operators from 65 countries which are members of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators. IAGTO – In Canada and the USA there are approximately 60 golf tour operators that are members of The Global Tourism Organization for the Golf Industry.
Just a couple of weeks ago the winners were announced during the Opening Address of the 20th International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France, in front of an audience of 1,300 international golf tourism delegates.
North Carolina, The Bahamas, Dubai, New Zealand, Spain’s Costa Blanca region and Flanders in Belgium have all been honoured in the 2018 IAGTO Awards, the golf tourism industry’s annual marque of excellence.
In addition, the Awards – organised by global golf tourism trade organisation IAGTO – lauded three golf resorts: Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus, South Africa’s Fancourt and California’s Pebble Beach Resorts.
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “For 18 years now we have been recognising a handful of golf courses, golf resorts and golf destinations each year that have excelled in their efforts to deliver the best possible experience to the visiting golf traveller.
“Our 680 golf tour operator members in 65 countries are now responsible for close to 90% of all international golf vacation packages sold worldwide, and it is their votes that determine who receives this annual accolade among golf destinations and golf resorts across the globe, which is why the Awards are so well respected.
“The International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) was established in the same year as the inaugural IAGTO Awards, and their 220 journalists who are at the forefront of bringing new golf experiences to the attention of golf travellers around the globe, are responsible for selecting the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year which is always one of the highlights for me.
“Having only nine golf destination and resort awards up for grabs each year makes each Awards ceremony incredibly special as well as intense! I am pleased that even after 18 years, the eager anticipation of the announcement of the winners is just as acute as it was when we started, and for the winners it beckons a year of deserved recognition and celebration.”
The 2018 IAGTO Sustainability Awards, which are run in conjunction with GEO (Golf Environment Organization), were also announced at IGTM.
2018 IAGTO Awards winners
Golf Destination of the Year – North America: North Carolina
Golf Destination of the Year – Latin America & Caribbean: The Bahamas
Golf Destination of the Year – Africa, the Gulf States & Indian Ocean: Dubai
Golf Destination of the Year – Europe: Costa Blanca, Spain
Golf Destination of the Year – Asia & Australasia: New Zealand
European Golf Resort of the Year: Aphrodite Hills, Cyprus
North American Golf Resort of the Year: Pebble Beach Resorts, USA
Golf Resort of the Year – Rest of the World: Fancourt, South Africa
Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year: Flanders, Belgium
2018 IAGTO Sustainability Awards winners – Sponsored by Textron Golf
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year for Nature Protection: Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, Costa Rica
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year for Community Value: Golf della Montecchia, Italy
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year for Resource Efficiency: Finca Cortesin, Spain
How does IAGTO come up with the award winners?
The Golf Destination and Golf Resort awards are voted for by IAGTO’s specialist golf tour operator members that now number over 680 from 65 different countries. Each was asked to vote for what they considered to be the best-performing golf resorts of the year. They considered these criteria: customer satisfaction; quality of golf courses and accommodation; value for money; support from suppliers, tourist boards & airlines; professional conduct of suppliers; and accessibility to tee times.
The Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year Award is voted for by the 220 golf travel journalists from 38 countries of the International Golf Travel Writers Association, who consider the following: to what extent is the golf destination undiscovered; qualities that make for an interesting golf destination; attractiveness of the region and of the courses; golf course quality & accessibility; standard of accommodation; friendliness of the staff; value for money; speed of play; and climate.
IAGTO is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and is considered the global trade organisation of the golf tourism industry, with over 2500 total members in 98 countries including 680 golf tour operator members in 65 countries, which control more than 90% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and which collectively have annual sales of over US$2.5 billion. IAGTO runs annual Asia and North America Golf Tourism Conventions, along with regular Destination Conventions. IAGTO established the International Golf Travel Market.
If you would like to learn more about IAGTO visit: www.IAGTO.com