26. 11. 2010
If the 13th edition of the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) is taken as a barometer for the immediate future prospects of the golf tourism industry then things are indeed looking brighter for 2011.
A distinct mood of optimism characterised the annual gathering of golf travel specialists which took place in Valencia from November 15-18 and the continuing growth in the number of exhibitors and buyers spoke volumes for the vibrancy of the sector despite the challenging global economic situation.
More than 10,000 pre-scheduled meetings took place between suppliers, buyers and media during the three days of IGTM and more than 1,400 delegates from 67 countries, including the strongest ever showing of Asian destinations, resorts and golf tour operators, led by Japan and China, attended the event.
IGTM is always a full-on week for exhibitors and buyers and this year’s event proved no different. The proceedings got underway with a golf tournament which took delegates to several leading golf courses in the region of Valencia including El Saler, Olivia Nova, Foressos and El Bosque. The tournament was followed by a welcome reception at the stunning Hemisferic building at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. The striking glass and steel structure was an ideal location for an exhilarating firework display which left delegates in no doubt that Valencia was going to make 2010 something special.
The doors of the Feria Valencia Convention and Exhibition Centre opened on Tuesday morning with IAGTO´s (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) chief executive Peter Walton’s state of the industry address. Walton gave an update on IAGTO´s activities over the past year and expressed his view that there was a sense of cautious optimism in the industry for the year ahead. He reported that the indications from IAGTO members were that, while challenges remain in certain markets, business was generally picking up He expressed his hope to see most of their tour operator members achieving 20% increases in bookings in 2011.
Then it was down to the real business of IGTM. With a maximum of 37 pre-scheduled appointments and several networking sessions over three days, exhibitors and buyers were given every opportunity to meet potential new partners and do business. The organisers were delighted with the attendance and put this down to the effectiveness of the format. Speaking at the event, Group Exhibitions Director for Reed Travel Exhibitions, Mark Walsh, said: “This year’s event is the biggest and best to date, proving that our strategy for creating the right environment to conduct high quality meetings is proving successful. Given the high level of interest from buyers, we hope that this year’s IGTM will help sustain high levels of activity within the international golf travel industry.”
Five continents were represented at this year’s IGTM with increased participation, in particular, from Asia, including Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. The Japan Tourism Agency was among those attending IGTM for the first time. Hikaru Yakushiji from Jet Sports commented: “I attended the show for the first time myself last year and I thought it was really good. I went back to Japan and suggested that the tourist board takes part this year and they supported the idea. We have 2,400 golf courses in Japan and we would like to share our great golf together with our cuisine and culture with golfers from all over the world.”
The networking sessions offered a genuine international pot pourri of refreshments to provide the ideal showcase for some of the nations in attendance. The Minister of Tourism for the region of Veneto in Italy, Marino Finozzi, hosted a reception with local cuisine and prosecco. There was a Tunisian cocktail reception, a wine and sweet pastries reception hosted by the Argentinean delegation, a Czech Republic beer tasting, and a Dawa cocktail tasting organised by the Kenyan delegation to mention a few. South Africa organised a “Big Blow Off” which saw buyers sounding the famous World Cup vuvuzelas in an attempt to win a golf safari in the country including the opportunity to play the Extreme 19th at Legend Golf & Safari Resort and win US$1million for a hole-in-one.
IGTM has been held in many different golf destinations around the world over the last 13 years and there is always a buzz of anticipation around the announcement of the following year’s host venue on the last day of the event. The announcement that the14th edition of IGTM will take place in Belek, Turkey from November 14-17, 2011, was widely welcomed.
Belek is one of the fastest growing and most successful golf destinations in the world. Close to the cosmopolitan city of Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, the destination boasts 14 world-class golf venues courses designed by the likes of Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie, and a range of top class hotels.
Öner Uygun of Millennium Golf Turkey, said: “We are delighted to be selected as the host of IGTM, which is a globally important event, and look forward to welcoming the industry’s leading golf tourism suppliers, buyers, official dignitaries and media from across the globe to Belek and Antalya.”
Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions, added: “Turkey, the 2008 IAGTO Best Golf Destination winner, and Belek, Antalya, in particular, has enjoyed spectacular recent success and now is the right time to host the world’s largest gathering of golf tourism professionals in this exciting destination.”
IGTM finished in style with a Gala Dinner held in the magnificent Science Museum at the City of Arts and Sciences and the 11th annual IAGTO Virgin Atlantic Awards which recognise the outstanding performers in international golf tourism.
As the curtain came down on another successful IGTM it was clear that many of those attending were optimistic that the golf tourism market will be significantly closer to recovery when they descend on Belek in 12 months’ time.
Posted on June 6, 2011 by admin@golfcomms