The 23rd edition of International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions went virtual this year with a one-off IGTM Links that took place over three days from October 20-22. The event hit a record number of attendees, with over 1,400 buyers and suppliers engaged in one-to-one meetings to help plan 2021 golf tourism and beyond.
IGTM Links, was a state-of-the-art online meeting platform that gave golf courses, golf resorts and destinations access to almost 10,500 flexible meetings with international golf tour operators and media. During the three days there were also content sessions that helped analyse and debate issues that gave an insight into how the revival of golf tourism was going to be different following this year’s lack of travel and also a look at how to lure the US golfer overseas.
Clinton Norris from Troon International joined fellow panellists Peter Walton from IAGTO and Sam Barker from Golfbreaks.com in a discussion about the ‘what the revival of golf tourism will look like’ and also the emergence of ‘safe destinations’. “We are seeing the growth in popularity of private islands in the Maldives, which are performing better than last year because they are family friendly. It gives guests their own private space and seclusion and we see the same with Seychelles and Mauritius,” said Norris.
The session on ‘how to attract the US golfer’ included insights from Protravel’s Melissa Porzak and Distincte Golf & Travel’s Sean Winton, who described what his clients were looking for over and above their golf when they travel, saying; “It’s service-driven and quality, and the US market will pay for it as they expect it. There is no ask too great and delivering on it is a win for the operators in Europe.”
More than 35 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. 650 exhibitors in total attended IGTM this week showcasing 68 countries.
Commenting on her participation at IGTM Links, Matina Mpouga, from Costa Navarino in Greece, commented; “I think we all have missed the physical IGTM, but we need to adapt ourselves to the new reality. It’s always great pleasure to get in contact with our partners through any channel. Looking forward to the next IGTM!”
David Ashington from Monte Rei Golf & Country Club added: “Incredibly busy IGTM for us with many meetings hosted by all three staff. Excellent system, allowing so many resorts and tour operators to network effectively. Well done IGTM.”
Petra Darmstädter from Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf said: “IGTM Links has exceeded my expectations as it has been a very intense and productive few days of meeting with loyal and new buyers. The buyer participation and quality has been excellent, and the live chat system was outstanding. It was very important to reconnect to develop new experience ideas together for the near future. And be ready for the golfers when they can travel safely again. The online event format shouldn’t replace the physical, face-to-face IGTM meetings as I missed the networking and unscheduled chats. I look forward to this next year in Wales.”
Leanne Rice from Tourism Northern Ireland commented: “Golf tourism is incredibly valuable to our economy so promoting the Northern Irish golf product is very important for us and our industry. It was wonderful that IGTM Links was created, it is an event we have attended for many years, and although it was not the same spirit as the IGTM we are familiar with – with the wonderful networking events and golf tournament, it was wonderful to reengage with golf tour operators from all corners of the globe. It was fantastic to see the interest in golf in Northern Ireland is still very strong and we value the business all golf operators send, and we look forward to meeting the operators and wider golf tourism industry in person next year in Wales.”
David Todd, IGTM Event Manager, concluded: “With restrictions impacting travel across the world, we made the decision to launch the first ever digital IGTM. We’re delighted to see the industry come together, demonstrating the desire and demand is still very much there for golf tourism despite a very challenging year. IGTM Links hasn’t been a direct replacement for IGTM. We could never replicate the energy and the passion of the live event. It has been a free networking platform for the industry to come together and share ideas. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone face to face in Wales in 2021.”
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 will take place in the UK.