The 2nd edition of International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) Links organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions was once again virtual last month (23-25 March) whilst announcing that the first official face to face gathering for the international golf travel community will take place at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales from 18th – 21st October 2021.
The golf tourism event was designed to bring the community together in a time when it’s not physically possible. Golf was, during 2020, one of the first leisure activities to come back and the demand for the industry to bounce back once again was evident during the virtual event with over 5,000 meetings in three-days and some 400 buyers and suppliers engaged in creating new itineraries for group and individual golfers for both at domestic and overseas travel.
Content sessions available included a destination presentation from the Italian National Tourist Board, panel discussions from top golf courses about trends and the good news effect, as well as research on how to plan business strategies going forward.
Stuart Collier, Director of Golf at Stoke Park in the UK joined fellow panellists Tore Waagø at Miklagard Golf Club in Norway, Bryan K Stevens from Destination Kohler in the US and Kelly Sheenan from Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in a discussion about the post pandemic club member trips and how to utilise these in the future. “The benefit of having the tour operator supporting our member trips is priceless to us, certainly after the last 12 months. These events are a massive value ad as part of our membership, but we are not a tour operator and do not have the time or the expertise to bring our members a quality experience from dealing with ground handlers, hotels, restaurants and various tee times”, over 5,000 meetings over its three-days with over 400 buyers and suppliers engaged in one-to-one meetings to help the industry bounce back said Collier.
More than 40 international golf travel writers, publications and contributors also took part meeting with exhibitors so that their brands can benefit from additional editorial opportunities in the media’s travel pages.
Commenting on his participation at IGTM Links, Craeg Deery, Sales, Marketing & Membership Manager, Al Hamra Golf Club in the UAE commented; “IGTM Links has been a great way to prospect and connect with potential buyers to virtually meet and showcase our facility and Emirate within the UAE. Naturally with Covid still in the spotlight, it also allows the personal discussions of how the government and tourism boards have prepared the country to assist with returning tourism confidence. When meetings haven’t been possible, it has also been a great platform to connect and retrospectively arrange calls. All being said, still looking forward to meeting again in person in October.”
Emma Richardson, Director of Sales, Golf and Country Club Cluster at Marriott International
added; “IGTM Links has been a successful event for Marriott, the virtual platform has been seamless, and buyer quality excellent. Lots of follow up and feedback to do with some great enquiries from day one!”
Among the 200 buyers attending IGTM Links from +40 countries included Gian Carlo Nannini, Chairman and CEO, Green Velvet from Italy. “IGTM Links has been an important opportunity for me to maintain current relationships and create new ones in a time where we prepare to return ‘back to normal’. I’ve met with some interesting new suppliers for future business but looking forward to the personal contact you get with the physical IGTM which has great value to my business.”
David Todd, IGTM Event Manager concluded: “As the world continues to administer vaccines, we’re delighted that during IGTM Links, the business and conversations focused on a return to international travel. We’re now looking to later in the year and excited to start with the production of our live event working with all of our key partners to deliver a safe environment for us all when we come together in October in Wales.”
IGTM 2021 will take place from 18-21 October 2021 held at the ICC Wales and Celtic Manor Resort. It will be first time the event is held in the UK.