London, England: A new award has been launched to recognise golf destinations across the world which are collectively committed to protecting nature, using resources efficiently and providing value to the community.
The Sustainable Golf Destination of the Year Award aims to encourage destinations to work together to embed sustainable practices for the benefit of their businesses, their community and the environment.
The IAGTO Sustainability Awards, presented in partnership between IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) and GEO (the Golf Environment Organisation) have been a key feature of the annual IAGTO Awards over the last four years, celebrating clubs that show a continued commitment to sustainable operations.
During the launch of the new award, GEO’s Eric Duea highlighted two golf destinations which have already shown a leading role in the field: the Hilton Head Island Area, South Carolina, USA and The Algarve, Portugal, were both brought forward as examples of the benefits and value which working together towards sustainability can bring to a destination.
“We have seen a fantastic response to the IAGTO Sustainability Awards over the last four years,” said Peter Walton, Chief Executive of IAGTO. “There are a lot of clubs and resorts out there that are showing a real commitment across nature, resources and community and are receiving real benefits from their work.
“We’ve found it important to recognise and celebrate these clubs and are now delighted to be adding the Sustainable Destinations Award for 2016, allowing us to recognise the growing number of destinations around the world where golf resorts, local businesses and the local community work together to strengthen their destination to the benefit of their businesses, the community and the environment.”
Jonathan Smith, Chief Executive of GEO, said: “We are increasingly seeing destinations work collaboratively across clubs, businesses and community groups to share and support one another to embed successful sustainability initiatives.
“The opportunities and benefits that these partnerships bring are fantastic and we are very glad to be working again with IAGTO to celebrate these destinations.
“The Hilton Head Island Area and The Algarve are two destinations worthy of distinction in this category and we hope that by sharing their story other destinations across the world will be inspired to drive forward a collective effort and to be recognised for their work together by entering the 2016 IAGTO Sustainable Destinations Award. We are all looking forward to hearing and sharing the stories from across the world.”
The 2017 IAGTO Sustainable Destinations Award will be open to entries in May this year with a closing date for applications expected to be in September.
Collections of five or more golf courses in a particular area will be eligible to enter the award. The clubs should all be registered with the free OnCourse programme for sustainable golf and have their own sustainability goals, while the collective group must have a joint sustainability policy/plan and the submission must have the support of the local or national tourism body.
The IAGTO Sustainable Destinations Award Entry From will ask representatives to present the great sustainability achievements of the courses and new initiatives undertaken in the last 12 months, along with the short and long-term sustainability goals of the courses and destination.