Lake Como, Italy: Peter Walton, Chief Executive of IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators), has stressed the need for both regional and national tourist boards to implement integrated golf tourism promotional and development strategies.
After revealing that 2014 marks the third year of significant and consecutive growth in golf tour operator sales worldwide, Walton said now is the time when all golf destinations needed to put in place properly funded golf tourism strategies.
He said: “In the good times, virtually any destination or well-run golf resort can achieve growth in sales, but what the implementation of a well-planned, destination-wide strategy does is to lay down solid foundations that help secure sustainable growth in the face of an uncertain future.
“In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the relative popularity of tourism destinations was often discussed as being cyclical; whereas since the turn of the millennium these somewhat predictable cycles seem to have been replaced by more unpredictable irregular futures where the outcome for any destination is subject to a much greater variety of frequently occurring external events and vagaries.”
Walton added: “The responsibility for instigating such a golf tourism strategy lies firmly at the door of the relevant tourist board or ministry of tourism. However, at a time when public sector bodies are overstretched and often cash-poor, a golf tourism strategy should not be seen as either onerous or costly.
“Quite the opposite, in fact. It is precisely because tourist boards are under so much pressure to deliver a ‘return on investment’ that they must avoid lurching from one golf-related event or promotion to another without having first engaged with the private sector to develop an underlying plan. The strategy or roadmap then effectively helps a destination determine whether or not any particular activity is appropriate, timely and cost effective.”
In order to assist its member golf destinations and to illustrate how all the different elements of such a roadmap fit together, IAGTO has published an Integrated Golf Tourism Strategy Blueprint diagram with 10-step explanation.
The concept of the blueprint is based on the experience that IAGTO has gained from developing golf tourism strategies for more than 30 countries and regions across the globe over the past 12 years.
In 2014, IAGTO has been assisting in the development and implementation of golf tourism strategies for the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Morocco, Jakarta, Malaysia and Thailand.