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IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) is the global trade organisation for the golf tourism industry. Established in 1997, IAGTO’s membership now comprises 2173 accredited golf tour operators, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, receptive operators, airlines, tourist boards, approved media and business partners in 96 countries including, at its core, 529 specialist golf tour operators in 62 countries. It is estimated that IAGTO’s operators control over 85% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and turnover more than €1 billion per year.
As stated by IAGTO’s founder and chief executive, Peter Walton, “IAGTO strives to provide information and create opportunities that help its members develop their business faster, with less effort and less cost. In addition to organising fam trips, press trips, workshops, destination conventions and events, our staff around the world are constantly developing new services for our members to take advantage of and we pride ourselves on being at the heart of the golf tourism industry”.
Whilst its primary goal has always been to develop services and activities to directly benefit its growing membership, IAGTO now has a much broader remit to maintain and raise standardsthroughout the industry and to help destinations position themselves not only to attract more business but to deliver the best possible experience to the visiting golf traveller.
Over the past decade IAGTO has produced the Golf Tourism Strategies for more than 25 countries and regions and provides consultation and advice to many more on a continual basis. IAGTO also carries out Golf Tourism Audits to assess the strengths and weaknesses of golf courses striving to attract more visitors and has developed the GolfTravellerSURVEY software package for golf clubs to enable them to record accurately the demographics of their golf visitors.
In its first year, IAGTO established the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) which has become the industry’s annual trade show, now owned and operated by Reed Exhibition Companies, the world leader in travel and golf exhibitions. IGTM attracts over 1400 delegates every year from some 65 countries and remains the most important annual business event for the majority of our members.
In both North America and Asia, IAGTO also runs an annual Convention, bringing buyers and suppliers together in equal numbers to meet and talk business on a regional level. In addition to its annual Mid Year Convention and regular Destination Conventions, IAGTO takes over 500 operators and media on fam and press trips to golf destinations across the globe every year.
In 2000, IAGTO established the International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) to recognize and support quality journalists from around the world who enhance the industry through their high quality reporting of golf destinations in print, online and television media.
In order to reward the outstanding achievements of many undiscovered, emerging and established golf destinations along with individual golf resorts, IAGTO celebrates the end of each year with its ownGolf Travel Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner. The success of the golf travel industry will forever be dependent on the overall popularity of the game, and for this reason IAGTO also presents an Honorary Award each year. Recipients to date include Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Annika Sorenstam, Jose Maria Olazabal, Nick Price, Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance.
IAGTO’s global head office is based in London, England, and it also has representatives in the USA, China, Japan, SE Asia, South Africa, France, Ireland, Spain & Turkey.