Haikou, China: Almost 200 golf tour operator delegates are set to descend on China’s Mission Hills Hainan for next week’s third IAGTO Asia Golf Tourism Convention (AGTC).
The event, running from 24-27 March, is being held by global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) in partnership with the Mission Hills Group and the Haikou Government and has attracted 194 golf tour operators from 32 countries – an increase of over 30% on last year’s event in Pattaya, Thailand.
The biggest tour operator delegations attending are from China, Australia and Singapore, with buyers coming from countries as far afield as Korea, the Netherlands, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and the United States.
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “The success of the first two conventions together with the appeal of Mission Hills Hainan and the broad spectrum of golf resorts, courses, hotels and other golf tourism suppliers from across the Asia Pacific has driven this success.
“And on the supplier side, the golf destinations have flocked to AGTC this year because of the access to these buyers and because of their desire to tap into the Chinese market.”
This year’s AGTC has seen 148 supplier companies register for the event from 19 countries including Fiji, Mauritius, Cambodia, Vietnam and India as well as the established destinations of Thailand, Malaysia and host destination China.
There are particularly strong turnouts, representing an increased focus on golf tourism, from Sanya, Jakarta, the UAE, the Philippines and New Zealand.
“We have 62 Chinese golf tour operators, golf planners and specialist golf travel agencies attending,” Walton said. “We have also provided 12 Chinese-English interpreters this year to team up with individual buyers who may be relatively new to the international opportunities of golf travel.”
The convention begins on Monday, 24 March, with accommodation and social functions at Mission Hills Hainan and two days of appointments at the ocean-front Hainan International Exhibition & Convention Centre, where over 5,000 business meetings are expected to take place.
IAGTO will be staging its new IAGTO Excellence Awards for the Asia Pacific region at the AGTC Gala Dinner on March 25. They will recognise the vision and contribution of golf tourism industry leaders (Pearl and Legacy Awards) as well as outstanding achievements of a handful of golf courses which will herald a new direction in certification for IAGTO globally (Diamond and Platinum awards).
The total number of delegates will exceed 450 this year.
Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Tenniel Chu, who is also Chairman of the IAGTO China Chapter, said: “AGTC 2014 is a very favourable opportunity to promote Haikou and Hainan to the whole world. Whether it is for building Hainan as an international tourism island or for promoting the Chinese golf tourism industry, it has significant importance.”
Located in a volcanic park on Hainan Island and offering 10 golf courses in a volcanic landscape in addition to extensive leisure and mineral spring spa facilities, Mission Hills Hainan was named IAGTO’s Golf Resort of the Year for Asia and Australasia for 2012 and is accredited as the World’s Largest Spa and Volcanic Spring Resort by Guinness World Records.
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