The great and the good of the golf travel industry gathered at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales this week to attend the 2021 International Golf Travel Market.
Organised by Reed Exhibitions, the three-day event, which was held in Celtic Manor’s impressive ICC Wales, marked the first time that the UK has hosted IGTM, and also the first face-to-face meeting of the golf travel industry for the past two years, with last year’s IGTM held virtually due to the pandemic.
Approximately 200 tour operators, travel agents and concierge companies were in attendance from 30 countries. They met with a similar number of the world’s top golf courses, resorts, hotels, tourist boards and DMCs showcasing destinations such as Wales, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Catalonia, France, and Italy, Portugal, Spain and Qatar.
Although visitor and exhibitor numbers were down significantly on previous years due to travel difficulties caused by the pandemic, over 7,000 meetings took place over the three days, giving the golf travel industry a kickstart into 2022 and beyond.
Attendees took part in a number of networking events, including the official IGTM golf tournament on Monday, where guests battled through the inclement weather to play rounds at Celtic Manor’s Twenty Ten course, Royal Porthcawl, The Vale and St Pierre Marriott Hotel & Country Club.
Exhibitors and buyers have commented on the success of the event. Siobhan O’Sullivan, Director of Sales and Marketing at Mount Juliet Ireland said: “I’ve had meetings with some excellent quality buyers at IGTM. Being the hosts of the Irish Open earlier this year, it’s crucial for us to keep the Mount Juliet brand out there. Now more than ever, relationships are at the forefront of everything we do. We’ve been delighted to be here with Tourism Ireland and combining not only the golf, but also the culture, hospitality, estate properties and stories our country has to offer.”
Eddie Mitchell, Sales Manager for Rovos Rail in South Africa, commented: “I have been delighted with the success my business has made through IGTM this year, The venue has been fantastic, and the buyer quality has also been excellent – IGTM is without a doubt the premium event for the golf travel industry.”
Marina Mylona, Tourism Officer for Visit Cyrpus added: “We received some good business leads from the virtual IGTM Links last year, but it’s great to have more time to do business face to face at last. The results of the show have been good for our Cyprus family of businesses. I am pleased to see smiling new faces and those we have seen behind a screen for such a long time.”
Fatima Gonzalez Carriles, Travel Consultant with Sapphire Viajes Spain, commented: “The opportunity to see everyone in person again is priceless and makes such a huge difference. IGTM is the opportunity for the networking we’ve missed. This is my 4th IGTM and when I think about the key points in my career when I’ve needed people to help me or an important connection, it was always made at IGTM.”
Celtic Manor Resort and ICC Wales Chief Executive Ian Edwards said: “It has been a sight for sore eyes to see the exhibition hall at ICC Wales busy with exhibitors and delegates once again. Not only is this the first time the UK has ever held this prestigious global event, IGTM is also one of the first international industry events of any kind to return to the UK since the lifting of restrictions. It has been fantastic to meet up face to face once again and welcome so many visitors from around the world to Wales and show them our amazing facilities, both inside the convention centre and outside on our wonderful golf courses.”
David Todd, Event Manager of IGTM, has announced that IGTM 2022 is to be hosted in Rome from October 17-20, ahead of Italy’s staging of the Ryder Cup in 2023. He said: “We’re delighted that this event moves to Italy next year, also home to the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club. Details of the programme for the event will be released over the coming months.”
Representing the host of IGTM 2022, Valentina Corrado, Councillor, Lazio Region, added: “IGTM will be a milestone on the road to Ryder Cup 2023, when the whole world will be looking at Lazio and Rome for the most important golf event in the calendar. We’re looking forward to showcasing all our destination has to offer to IGTM attendees next year.”