The return of the NAC – the North American Golf Tourism Convention – proved a smash hit when the 12th edition took to the stage in the “Biggest Little City in the World” after a two-year Covid-induced break.
Twice postponed during the pandemic, the leading golf travel event for the Americas finally took place last week in Reno Tahoe, Nevada, exactly two years later than originally planned.
It saw 186 golf tour operators, golf courses, hotels, tourist boards and golf tourism suppliers from 25 countries gather in Reno to celebrate the return of this important event. Besides two days of meetings, participants also got the chance to play on two of the area’s top golf courses in a pre-convention tournament, while a number of tour operators also experienced Nevada’s golf offerings on familiarisation trips in southern Nevada and around Reno.
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “Running an international golf tourism event in the United States at what is still a challenging time for the industry was never going to be a guaranteed success, so I was both delighted and relieved to receive incredibly positive responses from all participants throughout the week.
“As a trade association, one of our roles is to provide the industry with meeting opportunities that are affordable, valuable and enjoyable. Reno Tahoe and the host hotel The ROW along with Peppermill Reno and the Tahoe Mountain Club were incredibly supportive and flexible over the two years that we have been waiting to stage this convention, and we all invested heavily to ensure that the best possible outcome was delivered.
“It helped also that Reno Tahoe is an incredibly attractive golf destination with a vibrant fun city at its heart – branded as the ‘Biggest Little City in the World’.
The success of NAC delighted Nick Saccomanno, National Sports Sales Manager for Reno Tahoe’s tourism body, the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority.
He said the reason Reno Tahoe decided to host NAC was to expose both domestic and international golf travellers to a region offering huge potential as a golf destination but one that was not widely recognised as such currently.
“Within an hour’s drive, there are almost 90 golf courses,” he said. “That includes California, but Reno itself has 40 courses. The PGA Tour is here in July, and if it’s good enough for the PGA Tour it’s probably good enough for golf travellers.”
He added: “The Biggest Little City moniker exists for a reason. You have all the surrounding terrain of desert, mountains and Lake Tahoe. Reno has a combination of a city environment with nightlife, great hotels and outdoor activities on its doorstep. It is only three and a half hours from the Bay area (San Francisco) and just an hour’s flight from Southern California and Las Vegas.
“You can even ski and play golf on the same day in spring. Mount Rose is 25 minutes from Reno and there’s a golf course 10 minutes away from the ski resort there, so you can ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon.”
As for waiting two years to host NAC, he is confident of the benefits it will bring.
“Hosting this convention is one of the smartest decisions this destination has ever made,” he said. “There’s no question that it is going to pay back the investment. It’s been great to see people face to face once again and the feedback has been immensely positive. We already have a lead for 2023 for a six-night trip for 75 people from an international tour operator.
“I am absolutely excited about the future as a result of hosting NAC.”
NAC will take place next year at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Florida, from 20-22 June 2023 and registration will open in July.
For photos and NAC logo please click here