The IAGTO Awards 2013

15 November 2012
The IAGTO Awards 2013

The IAGTO Awards are the official annual awards for the golf tourism industry. The 2013 gala Awards evening took place on Thursday 15th November 2012 at the Tivoli Marina Hotel in Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal on the last day of the International Golf Travel Market.

IAGTO is the global trade organisation for the golf tourism industry, comprising more than 2000 companies in 88 countries, including 480 specialist golf tour operators in 58 countries. IAGTO operators control more than 85% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and their combined annual turnover exceeds €1 billion. IAGTO’s Chief Executive, Peter Walton, said "The annual golf holiday is the highlight of the golfing year for many of the world’s 50 million players, and the IAGTO Awards serve to reward a few exceptional contributions to this world of golf travel. There is certainly no shortage of candidates worthy of recognition. Many individuals, companies, organisations and destinations have excelled in delivering a great golfing experience to the golf traveller – the ultimate goal for all involved in golf tourism.

“The Awards serve also to encourage private and public sector organisations to work closely together in the development and promotion of new and existing golf destinations, making them accessible to and enjoyable by the widest range of golfers. Each year we recognise the performance of three of the world’s leading Golf Resorts, the flagships of our industry, together with one outstanding golf destination in each of the following five regions:

  • Asia & Australasia
  • Africa, the Indian Ocean & the Gulf States
  • Latin America & the Caribbean
  • North America
  • Europe

There is also an award for the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year, voted for by members of the International Association of Golf Travel Writers, with over 180 member journalists from 35 countries. Last year the awards were extended beyond resorts and destinations to include a new Outstanding Performance award for other categories of golf tourism supplier, including golf clubs, hotels, transportation companies and ground handlers. The ceremony culminates in the presentation of our Honorary Award in tribute to the achievements of one extraordinary individual.”

The winners of the 2013 IAGTO Awards were:

Golf Resort of the Year – Europe: Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, France
Golf Resort of the Year – North America: Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa
Golf Resort of the Year – Rest of the World: Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort, Morocco
Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year: Veneto, Italy
Golf Destination of the Year – Africa, the Indian Ocean & the Gulf States: Dubai
Golf Destination of the Year – Asia & Australasia: Vietnam
Golf Destination of the Year – Europe: Gran Canaria
Golf Destination of the Year – Latin America & the Caribbean: Dominican Republic
Golf Destination of the Year – North America: Monterey County, California
Outstanding Supplier of the Year: Onyria Golf Resorts
IAGTO Honorary Award: Tony Jacklin

Quotes from Award Winners:

Golf Destination of the Year Asia & Australasia – Vietnam
Staffan Schertz, Director of Business Development, Indochina Tourist & Trade Co said: "After being announced the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year in 2007, Vietnam has experienced a steady growth in international tourism arrivals throughout the last couple of years. It is thanks to several international renowned golf course designers and the relentless efforts of inbound tour operators that Vietnam is now on the radar of the international golf community. Besides the excellent golfing facilities, Vietnam offers so much more culturally, scenically and culinary. We are very excited that with this award Vietnam as a golf destination receives the attention it truly deserves!"

Golf Destination of the Year Africa & Gulf States – Dubai
Hamad M bin Mejren, Executive Director Business Tourism, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said: “Dubai’s golf industry continues to grow and flourish.  This award is a true testament to all of the efforts that the golf course developers and operators have put into delivering exceptional experiences for our guests.  We are thankful to the members of IAGTO for their faith and support of Dubai as a premier golf destination and for giving us this award.  This accolade will help us to continue to grow the sport and to promote the destination.”

Golf Destination of the Year North America – Monterey County
Charlie Spiegel, Director of Sales at the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau said: “It is a great honour to win this award and to have Monterey County recognised as one of the premier golf destinations in the world by the international tour operators.  Monterey County’s 24 courses offer a wide range of play from pristinely-maintained municipal golf courses in Pacific Grove to the exclusive world-renowned Pebble Beach courses like The Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill. This recognition benefits the entire Monterey County tourism industry because visitors, after a round of golf, will do other things like visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, restaurants, spas, wineries and stay at hotels.  This award is representative of all the hard work, effort and commitment to excellence put in by the entire tourism industry in Monterey County.”

Golf Destination of the Year Latin America & Caribbean – Dominican Republic
Petra Cruz-Deyerling, Director Europe, Dominican Republic Tourist Board said: “The Dominican Republic is thrilled to receive this coveted Award as the golf destination of the year in the Caribbean and Latin America by the prestigious International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO). World-class golf, magnificent unspoiled nature, championship course design and friendly, high-quality services are abundant among our list of 28 superb golf courses.  Each course features exciting and breathtaking vistas and unique challenges created by the golf world’s best designers. Dominicans have mastered the art of presenting the world’s best managed golf experience with glamorous South-east Coast courses like Punta Espada Golf Club at Cap Cana, La Cana at Punta Cana Resort & Club, and Teeth of the Dog and Dye Four at Casa de Campo. The lesser-known, but wildly magnificent Dominican Central and Northern regions boast courses like Los Aromas, Playa Dorada and Playa Grande. Now, with this award, the Dominican Republic is even more attractive for Golfers.”

Golf Destination of the Year Europe – Gran Canaria
Agustín Manrique, President, Gran Canaria Golf said: “Gran Canaria Golf is extremely happy and excited about receiving the award for the European Golf Destination of the Year.  After 10 years of working hard to create, develop, and improve our destination, this award represents our highest achievement to date. We are grateful for the honour and continue to strive to provide the best golf experience for all visitors to Gran Canaria.”

Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year – Veneto
Marino Finozzi, Councillor for Tourism of Veneto Region said: “This wonderful award is a result of the precious and continuous work that the region, the hotels and golf clubs with the support of the Consorzio di Promozione Turistica Marca Treviso has achieved. But, our work has just started and there is still a lot to be done. This award will motivate us to do even better in the next future. The Veneto region is the most important tourism region of Italy with over 62 million visitors. Most know Venice, Verona and the Lake Garda, but discover our amazing spas, visit the Dolomites Mountains and the unique cities of art like Padua, Vicenza and Treviso as well as the unique Palladian Villas or walk on more than 100km of sandy beaches. The Veneto region is also the home of excellent wines like Prosecco, Amarone or Soave as well as the home country of the famous golfer Matteo Manassero. Thanks to this award, we hope that the Veneto will be recognised in the future also as a great golfing destination.”

North America Golf Resort of the Year – Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa
Tom Manno, General Manager, Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa said: “With eight world-class championship courses, the best golf instruction available from the TOUR Academy at TPC Sawgrass and exceptionally-priced golf packages, Sawgrass is a one-of-a-kind destination for those with passion for the game. We are especially lucky to be able to provide our guests with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of past champions including KJ Choi and Tiger Woods. As the host hotel for tournaments including the PLAYERS golf tournament in May, we are honoured to receive this international recognition as the 2013 Golf Resort of the Year for North America from IAGTO as we continue to develop our golf programming and serve our guests with unparalleled golf experiences in the New Year and beyond.”

Europe Golf Resort of the Year – Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort
Jean-Marie Casella, Golf Director, Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort said: “This award gives us recognition from the world of golf tourism for the quality of what we give to our clients in Terre Blanche. It is a very high quality of service, for the hotel – which is now part of the Leading Hotels of the World – and also for the two golf courses and the training centre which is a European Tour Performance Institute. It is the only one in the world. The best recognition we could have is this award. It’s a kind of surprise because our promotion of golf is quite new. We are very happy to have this recognition now because it will help us to develop our operations and maintain the highest quality of service. It is a big surprise; the golf courses and the hotel are eight years old and the spa is only four years old. It is growing and growing.”

Rest of the World Golf Resort of the Year – Mazagan Beach Resort
Terrance Mohammed, Golf Club Manager, Mazagan Beach Resort said: “To be honoured with such a prestigious award after only three years of opening the Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort is a true testament to both the quality and service which is synonymous with the 5-star standards that have helped distinguish both Kerzner International and Troon Golf within the tourist industry. Competing in today’s golfing climate with such great resorts and courses operating worldwide, we’re excited to have made such a significant impact and surely this will only continue to develop our product and our destination as a ‘must play’ golf course.”

Outstanding Golf Tourism Supplier – Onyria Golf Resorts
João Pinto Coelho, Sales Director for Onyria Golf Resorts said: “Winning this award, which is voted for by our customers and suppliers, is a tremendous honour. To win such an honour domestically would be a thrill but to win the IAGTO award just about tops everything so far. Thank you all.”

15th November 2012

Notes for Editors

The Golf Destination and Golf Resort awards are voted for by IAGTO’s specialist golf tour operator members which now number over 480 from 58 different countries. Each operator was asked to vote for what they considered to be the best performing golf resorts of the year. The following criteria were considered:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Quality of Golf Courses and Accommodation
  • Value for money
  • Support from Suppliers, Tourist Boards & Airlines
  • Professional Conduct of Suppliers
  • Accessibility to Tee Times

With the exception of the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year Award which is voted for by the 180 golf travel journalists from 35 countries of the Golf Travel Writers Association, who consider the following:

  • To What Extent is the Golf Destination Undiscovered
  • Qualities that make for an Interesting Golf Destination
  • Attractiveness of the Region and of the Courses
  • Golf Course Quality & Accessibility
  • Standard of Accommodation
  • Friendliness of the staff
  • Value for money
  • Speed of Play
  • Climate

Carlton Carugati - General Manager
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