November 14 - The Western Cape’s natural paradise of the Garden Route has been recognised as the 2014 Golf Destination of the Year for Africa and the Gulf States by the global trade association of the golf tourism industry, IAGTO.
Nils Flaatten, CEO of Wesgro, the Western Cape’s official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency, collected the award at the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Spain on behalf of the province.
“It is fantastic to win this award in which we were up against nominees in Mauritius, Kenya, Abu Dhabi and Morocco and I hope it will encourage more golfers to visit this beautiful part of the Western Cape,” Flaatten said. “Golf tourism is one of the contributing factors in driving economic growth through tourism and also provides jobs in areas which rely on tourism.”
Oubaai Golf Course is professional golfer Ernie Els' first signature course in South Africa, and George is where he resides when in the country. “The Garden Route is a very special place to me and definitely a golfing destination worthy of being the Golf Destination of the year,” said Els, who received an Honorary Award at IGTM.
Also in George is the Fancourt Country Club, with three courses designed by Gary Player.
“With 14 different golf clubs, there is not only a wealth of top notch golf courses including Fancourt, Simola and Pezula, but the Garden Route is also a destination which holds appeal for the whole family. Towns from George, Sedgefield, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and The Craggs all offer unique experiences on land and water for the whole family, from whale watching to elephant sanctuaries, steam cruising and tree-top canopy touring to just relaxing in a world-class spa or taking in a meal with pristine views of nature’s garden of Eden.”
“Low cost airline Mango has introduced a leisure schedule between Johannesburg and George - making this destination even more accessible to visitors. We will take this award to the people of the Garden Route on the inaugural flight from OR Tambo International on Monday, 18 November,” added Flaatten.
The IAGTO Awards were established in 2000 to reward exceptional contributions to the world of golf travel. IAGTO’s 500+ golf tour operators from 61 different countries cast their votes for these Awards. Each operator was asked to nominate what they considered to be the best performing golf destinations this year enjoyed by their golf travelling clients.
The golf destination in each of the five regions with most votes receives the 2014 Golf Destination of the Year accolade. Operators were asked to consider the following criteria: Customer satisfaction, quality of golf courses & accommodation, value for money, professional conduct of suppliers, support from the local tourism industry and accessibility to tee times.