Ljubljana, Slovenia: Thailand’s reputation as one of the world’s premier golfing getaways was enhanced at the 19th annual IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators) Awards.
In a glittering finale to the latest edition of International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), hosted in Slovenia, Hua Hin was named as Golf Destination of the Year in the Asia & Australasia region.
It’s the second time that Hua Hin has won the award in this category since 2014, and the fifth time it has gone to either a region of Thailand or the country itself. Thailand also won IAGTO’s Emerging Golf Destination of the Year Award for 2006, the second time in only five years.
Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said: “It is truly an honour to be conferred this prestigious award for the second time in five years. I would like to thank all the members of the IAGTO who voted for us.
“Over the years, Thailand’s outstanding golf courses have won numerous awards and we are committed to ensuring the high standards of professionalism and quality that earns us these votes of confidence year after year.
“We are also gratified to see Hua Hin continuing to be recognised as one of Thailand’s most popular golf tourism destinations, especially amongst the emerging generation of young women golfers in countries such as, China, India, Japan and Korea. We wish them all a warm welcome.”
Located about 200 kilometres south of Bangkok, Hua Hin is the country’s oldest beach resort. The summer retreat of Thailand’s Royal Family for more than 90 years, Hua Hin has long been a popular destination among Thais. Indeed, it was where Thailand’s first golf course – Royal Hua Hin Golf Club – was built in 1924.
The Award is voted for by specialist golf tour operators, who are members of IAGTO.
This year, the TAT participated in the IGTM for the ninth year. TAT reserved four square metres of space to negotiate business with buyers from around the world.
It also provided information on tourism and created awareness in the golf market, which is in line with the Sports Tourism (Golf) promotion plan. TAT also promoted its own annual Thailand Golf Travel Mart (TGTM).
The 21st edition of IGTM – a leading event for golf tourism suppliers, buyers and media – was made up of 30% new buyers, demonstrating a growing optimism in the sector.
The awards ceremony, which closed the event, was organised by IGTM partner, IAGTO, and saw some of the world’s best-performing destinations from five geographic regions celebrated as Golf Destination of the Year.
While Hua Hin, home to Asian Golf Industry Federation Golf Course Facility Member Banyan Golf Club, gained top honours in Asia & Australasia, other Golf Destination of the Year winners were Scottsdale (United States); Costa del Sol (Spain); as well as the nations of Mauritius and the Dominican Republic.
Also recognised during the evening in the Golf Resort of the Year category were the iconic Scottish hotel and 2014 Ryder Cup venue, Gleneagles, claiming the European award; Fairmont Chateau Whistler in Canada winning the North America class; and Mission Hills Haikou, China, taking the prize for Rest of the World.
In the Sustainability Awards, staged in association with the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO), winners for 2018 were split into four award categories: Nature Protection went to Jack’s Point, New Zealand; Resource Efficiency was won by Gardagolf Country Club, Italy; Community Value went to Al Mouj Golf, Oman; and Outstanding Commitment to Sustainable Golf was awarded to Vidago Palace, Portugal.
This year’s IAGTO Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year Award was presented to Logroño – La Rioja, a province in northern Spain.
David Todd, Event Manager at IGTM, said: “IGTM is an important hub for the global golf travel industry and this year’s event in Slovenia underlined the current optimism in the sector, showcasing many established and emerging golf destinations, with the IAGTO Awards closing the week on an exciting and positive note.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Slovenia for hosting one of the most popular and successful IGTMs in recent years.”