London, England: Twenty-two years on since its foundation in 1997, the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) is celebrating the landmark of reaching 1,000 golf club and golf resort members, which between them have 1,321 18-hole equivalent golf courses open to international golf visitors.
The 1,000th golf facility member was Dumbarnie Links in Scotland which joined IAGTO yesterday. This new links course, designed by Clive Clark, on the north shore of the Firth of Forth nine miles from St Andrews, will open in May 2020 but has already begun working with and taking bookings from IAGTO golf tour operators.
IAGTO has a total of 2,711 member companies and organisations in 101 countries, including golf tour operators, hotels, tourist boards, inbound operators, transportation companies and airlines as well as golf clubs and golf resorts.
To mark the occasion, IAGTO has launched two new programmes to help golf courses worldwide attract more golf travellers: IAGTO Quality Assured Certification for golf courses and IAGTO Golf Tourism Accreditation for golf course managers.
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “It’s a very significant landmark moment for us to have 1,000 golf facilities across 80 countries, from Argentina to Azerbaijan and from Northern Ireland to New Zealand, all actively working with IAGTO’s 700-plus golf tour operators.
“As we watched this milestone approach, we began working on two new services for our golf course members that will really help them attract more golf visitors. Our Quality Assured certification scheme deals with the quality and positioning of the golf course, while our Golf Tourism accreditation programme recognises those individuals who make sure that their golf course delivers the best possible experience to golf visitors.”
Looking to the future, Walton added: “For us, the focus of our every day is to develop and deliver new services that help our members do more business with less hassle. This encompasses everything from producing tools to help improve quality of product to providing valuable market information that facilitates better decisions, sooner, and at a lower cost.
“From a golf course membership perspective we have already achieved what we call ‘critical mass’ in some 25 countries, where 80% or more of export-ready (tourism friendly) courses are IAGTO members, and our goal is to achieve this across every golf destination worldwide.”