In the 22nd annual IAGTO Awards, five very different golf destinations – Cyprus, Dubai, Los Cabos, South Carolina and Thailand – have each been proclaimed as Golf Destination of the Year for 2023.
Established in 2000 and recognized as the most prestigious awards in the global golf tourism industry, the 2023 edition of the IAGTO Awards celebrates not only these 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, members of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) 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 recognize specialist golf receptive operators, such as PAGS in Portugal and Desert Gate Tourism in the United Arab Emirates which organize 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 northeast Florida and England’s Golf Coast, in the country’s north west, among others.”
Established in 1997, IAGTO is the global trade organization of the golf tourism industry, and has 2400 members in over 90 countries including almost 700 golf tour operator members in 61 countries, which control more than 90% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and which collectively have annual sales of over €2.5 billion. IAGTO runs annual Asia, Europe and North America Golf Tourism Conventions, along with regular Destination Conventions. IAGTO established the International Golf Travel Writers Association in 2000, the year in which the first prestigious annual IAGTO Awards also took place.