Costa Brava (Spain) – June 3, 2016 (travelindex.com) – International golf tourism to Spain’s Costa Brava region is on course to continue soaring following the second annual IAGTO Golf Trophy event in Spain, with more golfers heading there from an increasingly-diverse spread of countries.
Girona was the host destination for this year’s IAGTO Costa Brava Trophy, which drew 80 golf tour operators from 23 countries and was staged in a partnership between global golf tourism organisation IAGTO, the Catalan Tourist Board, the Costa Brava Girona Tourism Board and the Golf Association Costa Brava. Inspection visits to region’s golf courses and meetings with golf tourism suppliers took place throughout the week, with the ‘Trophy’ taking place on the Stadium Course of the 2015 IAGTO Award-winning PGA Catalunya Resort.
Figures released this month show that European golfer visitor numbers to the Costa Brava rocketed by 67% between 2013 and 2015. And that trend is set to continue as a result of staging the IAGTO Costa Brava Golf Trophy, tourism chiefs believe.
Jaume Marin, Marketing and Promotion Director of the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board, said
“We received almost 105,000 international golfers in 2015 and for 2016 our aim would be to reach 125,000. It would be really good if we could that. The region’s suppliers attending this event expect that the meetings held will lead directly to a further increase in business.”
On the selection of Girona and Costa Brava as the venue for this year’s IAGTO Trophy, IAGTO CEO Peter Walton said: “Making a positive impact on the destination is the most important factor in selecting venues for IAGTO events, so all the stars came into alignment for us when it was announced that Costa Brava would celebrate 2016 as the Year of Golf, Wine and Gastronomy to commemorate 50 years of golf in the region, with the IAGTO Costa Brava Trophy as the centrepiece of the golf related activities.”
He continued: “With the equivalent of sixteen different 18-hole courses all within a 45 minute drive of the historical, cultural, walking city of Girona, the region offers a fantastic cluster of high quality and visitor-friendly golf experiences, with IAGTO operators voting Costa Brava ‘Golf Destination of the Year’ as far back as 2000 at the inaugural IAGTO Awards.
“‘The positioning of Costa Brava as a destination of golf and gastronomy is no idle talk, with restaurants in Girona alone amassing a quite incredible 17 Michelin Stars.”
This year’s event attracted 80 golf tour operators from 23 countries, not only from Costa Brava’s principal markets of France, the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, but from a total of 18 European countries as well as the USA, Canada, India and China. Walton said: “One of the biggest developments I believe we will see over the next few years will be a rapid increase in the number of countries whose golfers choose to holiday in Costa Brava and beyond throughout Catalonia.”
Alberto Rodriguez, President of the Costa Brava Golf Association, believes the Costa Brava Trophy event will be pivotal for the region’s courses. He said: “It’s an important event for us. I think all the golf courses will feel the benefit of this event as early as October this year. Now the operators know the place and have experienced the high-quality courses, the good weather, the gastronomy and the culture. The IAGTO Golf Trophy is a good idea for a destination like ours. We are very happy with this event and all the members are very happy.”
Petra Darmstadter, Golf Sales Manager for the Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf, one of the fam trip host venues, praised the IAGTO event saying “We have just renovated the hotel so it is very important for us that the tour operators see the resort in order to be able to sell it. The feedback from them has been wonderful.”
Paul Cowgill, Director of UK tour operator Driveline Golf, said: “The Costa Brava Trophy was extremely informative and really well organised. It created a huge amount of food for thought on how to promote a destination that we already feature in different ways.”
Established in 1997, IAGTO is the global trade organisation of the golf tourism industry, and has over 2400 members in 95 countries including more than 630 golf tour operator members in 61 countries, which control 87% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and which collectively have annual sales of over €2.1 billion. IAGTO runs annual Asia and North America Golf Tourism Conventions, along with regular Destination Conventions. IAGTO established the International Golf Travel Market, now owned and operated by Reed Travel Exhibitions, in 1997 and the International Golf Travel Writers Association in 2000. IAGTO also runs the prestigious annual IAGTO Awards and the IAGTO Excellence Awards.