Two Asian nominees – Thailand and Dubai – were named as Golf Destinations of the Year for 2023 at the recent 22nd annual International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).
They joined Cyprus, Los Cabos, and South Carolina on the short list that was announced earlier this week.
In the golf resorts, courses and hotels category were Constance Hotels and Resorts of Mauritius, Dubai Golf, Hoiana Shores Golf Club of Vietnam and Cambodia’s Vattanac Golf Resort alongside the likes of Pebble Beach and Kiwah Island (USA), the Old Course at St Andrews (Scorland) and Ireland’s Adare Manor.
Easy Golf Ball of Indonesia and SEGA Tours Indian Ocean from Mauritius were awarded in the “destination management and transportation companies” section.
Established in 2000 and recognised as the most prestigious awards in the global golf tourism industry, the 2023 edition of the IAGTO Awards celebrated not only the five golf destinations, but also the outstanding service provided by 60 golf resorts, golf courses, hotels, receptive operators and tourist boards in 22 countries.
This year, IAGTO members across five continents were invited to vote for destinations and businesses that delivered a great experience for golf travellers in 2022.
IAGTO chief executive Peter Walton said, “IAGTO golf tour operators handle 90% of international golf vacation sales worldwide, so they are in a great position to assess the performance of golf destinations and the service provided by industry partners, through the experience of their customers.
“We currently have 669 golf tour operators in 61 countries which explains the geographical diversity of this year’s Awards recipients.
“It’s great to see relatively small golf destinations such as Cyprus, Dubai and Los Cabos in the mix with the established giants of South Carolina and Thailand.
“Recipients of our Outstanding Service Award include the renowned golf resorts of Adare Manor, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Casa de Campo, Fancourt and SO/ Sotogrande Resort, alongside the relative newcomers of Vattanac Golf Resort in Cambodia, Hoiana Shores Golf Club in Vietnam and the Monte Rei Golf & Country Club in Portugal.
“There are also names likely unfamiliar to golfers themselves, as the awards also recognise specialist golf receptive operators, such as PAGS in Portugal and Desert Gate Tourism in the United Arab Emirates which organise the ground arrangements for international golf tour operators. Lesser-known winners include El Gouna Golf Club on Egypt’s Red Sea coast and Heritage Hotels in Kenya.
“Finally, hats off to the tourist boards who did such a great job supporting the golf tourism industry last year, including Cadiz Tourism in Spain’s Andalucía region, Florida’s First Coast
of Golf in north east Florida and England’s Golf Coast, in the country’s north west, among others.”
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