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Buyer Comments

“This is my fifth time at NAC. It has become the must-not-miss event for golf tour operators. The quality of the suppliers is very high and the diversity is quite broad, which gives us a tremendous exposure to a lot of different product. You can do so much of your business in one place at one time. It saves us as buyers having to spend an inordinate amount of time and money visiting all the people in these destinations and allows us to get so much of our buying done in a three-day span. And from a networking perspective, it allows us to share ideas with our peers in the industry. It is a great networking opportunity. You cannot miss this even now. If you are a golf tour operator or supplier in the golf travel business you must be here.”

Ian Dawson, Vice President Business Development & Product, Golfstream Travel, Canada

“Charleston is just a beautiful place – very relaxed and friendly, plus you have the Southern welcome. Personally I think the Carolinas are the golf capital of the US. You have got everything from amazing value to high-end championship golf. They cater for all standards of golfers. You will come here and have a fantastic time. Charleston is the one of the few places in America with some history and is great to explore, from the cobbled streets and horse and carriage rides to the fine dining and high-end shopping. NAC has been extremely useful. To meet these guys all in one place at one time has been extremely useful.”

Robin Couchman, Product Manager, Your Golf Travel, England

“This is my fifth NAC. We have got past the global recession. There is more positivity about the place now. This is one of the better ones. Charleston is one of the places you need to see to really appreciate it. As soon as we came, we loved it. It is just beautiful and pretty historic. I can actually foresee this as a possible destination for golfers from New Zealand in conjunction with the Masters.”

Bill Mabey, Director, Experience Golf, New Zealand

“It has been a great show and it is nice to see Charleston again. I will definitely be back. I try to book appointments with 50% potential new suppliers and 50% I already work with. The meetings have been productive and very positive. This is my third NAC. It is getting better and better; maybe because I know people from before, but there are new suppliers as well.”

Mikael Jensen, General manager, Krone Golf Tours, Denmark

“Charleston has been a total surprise. It is a very positive experience – the restaurants, the people of Charleston and their friendliness. The show was very good for me; so many new contacts and suppliers. We are looking forward to following it up to bring more business to the USA, especially South Carolina and California. I am very pleased and the organization has been very good.”

Claude Heinz, President & CEO, Mach 2 Sports Tours & Entertainment, Germany

“I have been to two NACs. Panama surprised me. It has great interest for Americans and is somewhere I was interested in. It has grown and become very sophisticated. I can send clients who have been to Costa Rica. I am glad I came because there were a few really good, new interesting ideas I am coming away with. And I love Charleston. They did a really good job.”

Gwenna Pence, Product Director, Pret-a-Porter Golf Tours, USA

“It is a very good set-up. It is very useful to have a bar and coffee available to make the day more friendly. The quality of the suppliers was very good. This is our third NAC and it was the best one yet. I believe the host city was also one of the best if not the best I have been to for this show. I really enjoyed playing on the Ocean Course, playing for pride in a Ryder Cup-style format.”

Javier Pintos, Partner & Outbound Golf Manager, WeGolf Tours, Argentina

“This is my first time at NAC. I thought NAC was fantastic and I found it valuable on two fronts. It gives you the opportunity to people who have been in the industry for a long time and get an understanding of what the issues are and how it was when they started. The second front is making connections. When you plan a tour you need to put a face to a name. You can build better relationships through direct contact rather than via email. I wanted to get a little more knowledge of this area and try to link it into the Masters for tours. That is a more logical way to get people from Australia to experience the Carolinas. Gaining a better understanding of the different regions has been fantastic. I was on the Charleston fam trip beforehand. It is really a great town whether you are a golfer or a non-golfer. There’s great food, great nightlife and the hospitality is first class. When you combine it with the golf it is a really good mix.”

Steven Wyke, Director, The Travelling Golfer, Australia

Supplier Comments

“This is my second NAC. The key buyers are here and it’s a nice size. You are going to see who you need to see. It’s very important to make sure we continue to ensure the buyers know the value of courses we have.”

Tracy Vaughn, International Sales & Marketing Director, Visit Florida

“This is my first time at the convention. Our golf resort just opened in April. The course is a design by Gary Player and it is managed by Troon Golf. I have met really good buyers so it has been very productive. It is not only a new resort and golf course, Honduras is a new destination. It is great now to have two golf courses in the country. I was looking to form alliances and I came across IAGTO so I joined and registered for the North America Convention. I am very pleased with it. I hope to get business for this year. We are putting together some packages for tour operators.”

Alexandra Novella, Director of Sales, Indura Beach & Golf Resort, Honduras

“We have had good appointments and the increase in traffic is noticeable. It makes it much more beneficial for destinations like Bermuda – new contacts and good new business. Having been to NAC for four or five years, it is also interesting to see people who come back, which I think shows a bit of a resurgence in the industry. I would say about 50-60% of meetings have been new exposure for Bermuda. That is why being at this convention is very important. It gives us exposure to new markets and for them Bermuda is a new destination. We are definitely coming back next year.”

Andrew Brooks, Director of Golf Sales & Marketing, Bermuda Tourism

“It is worth coming to NAC; it always is. Apart from the number of formalized meetings and business sessions, invariably somebody new presents more business. Buyers are here from all over Europe but the bulk of my appointments have been with people from all over North America – Canada and the US – and also Australia. I am hoping to get more business from it. With some of the tour operators it’s a re-education process while for others it is new business opportunities. Charleston is fantastic. It has a wonderful charm and it has got everything.”

Alan Maloney, Proprietor, Mount Falcon/Enniscrone Golf Club, Ireland

“This is my third NAC. The meetings have been very positive. I didn’t have as many appointments this year, but I had more quality appointments. Overall it has been perfect. The organization of it has been excellent. We are now at a stage where I know what people can offer. So the conversations are not meet and greet. It is much more quality conversations we are having than two or three years ago. We are talking business.”

Donnie Dawson, Deputy Director of Tourism The Americas, Jamaica Tourist Board

“It’s very good, because of the combination of people I have met and worked with before and people who are new and expanding into Arizona, which is always positive. I think with the greater attendance you can see not only how the whole organization is growing but also how people are really starting to develop new programs and destinations, and their interest level in Scottsdale is very high. This is our fourth NAC and I think I have had more pre-scheduled appointments than at previous conventions.”

Sarah Kearney, Director of Tourism, Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Arizona

“Over the three years we have been attending it has been an opportunity for us to further our position with international tour operators. So we are expanding on our offerings now and trying to get a little more creative to keep growing our business. When we first got into this business a few years ago people weren’t sure if we were going to be in it for the long term. Coming here further shows our commitment to being in this market. It has been very good for us. We have had a good-value appointment schedule. We have established trust with the operators and will look after their clients. We have started to do more good value offers in the winter season and we are getting good feedback from operators. We are working much more with them to do special promotions. About 30% of our appointments have been new.”

Tim Ryan, Vice President Sales, Pebble Beach Resorts, California

“This is my first time to NAC. Seeing the tour operators and talking to them about Pinehurst is very beneficial, and it helps meeting new people. Building on relationships we already have and making new relationships is good for us. Coming back to back with the US Open at Pinehurst, we felt it was very important to build our international market so we had to come to NAC. We are going to be in the forefront of people’s minds because of the US Open and with the relationships we have made; people can feel confident in our services and feel comfortable in what we can provide. We have lots of possible new clientele. We were completely booked for appointments and were fitting in people in lunches and whenever we could. It has definitely been worthwhile coming to NAC.”

Meghan Reeves, Assistant Director of Social Sales, Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina

“We joined IAGTO a couple of months ago and signed up to the convention. We had almost 30 appointments in two days. I realize already it would have been a big mistake not to come here. We have had very productive meetings with people from 15-20 countries. All of them were enthusiastic about a new destination within easy driving distance of New York City. The trail is five years old. We have 23 courses in six regions of New York State, with 20 hotels and inns. We make the tee time reservations and accommodation bookings; it really is a one-stop shop. We have done traditional golf shows but I think this will outstrip the results from any of those we have done. New York City is a starting point for people coming over here on a golf vacation with all the other amenities in the state. I think we are planting seeds here. Because we are an overseas destination for most IAGTO tour operator members, we are looking more to the long term for bookings. We are very impressed with IAGTO for organizing the convention and the opportunity to socialize with everyone, the hospitality of the IAGTO staff and everybody here. It has been very successful.”

Rod Christian, President, New York Golf Trail, New York State