Oregon will showcase its diverse array of golf product to the world when the 10th annual North America Golf Tourism Convention (NAC) takes place in the heart of America’s Beaver State, from 24-27 June at Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon.
Golf tour operator delegates from 29 countries will descend on the city of Bend, known for its golf-friendly climate with more than 300 sunny days a year. The fully-booked event is being organized by global golf tourism organization IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators).
The impact of NAC 2018 will be felt statewide, as the vast majority of attending tour operators will also be participating in a series of familiarization tours before and after the convention to experience top golf courses throughout Oregon.
Throughout the three-day event, the tour operators will have meetings with golf clubs, golf resorts and hotels, as well as tourist boards, regional destinations, receptive tour operators and ancillary service providers. This year, 10% of the US suppliers will be attending for the first time, including Oregon representatives from Tualatin Valley, Running Y Ranch, Silvies Valley Ranch and Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
In addition to the large US contingent, suppliers will also be attending from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.
This will be one of the concluding events for Central Oregon Visitors Association CEO Alana Hughson, a former Chair of the Oregon Tourism Commission, before she retires after 25 years as head of the organization.
“Visit Central Oregon is tremendously excited to host IAGTO for its North America Convention in June,” Hughson said. “This is the single most important conference of the year for our destination and the state and region will be rolling out the red carpet for NAC attendees.
“Our destination will offer pre and post familiarization tours, including a number of Top 100 golf courses, as well as excursions for fly fishing, cycling, hiking, river rafting and craft beverage tasting. We look forward to celebrating NAC’s 10th anniversary in Central Oregon style.”
Lisa Itel, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships for Travel Oregon, is excited about the positive impact the forthcoming event will have for golf tourism in the state.
“Travel Oregon sees NAC 2018 as a turning point in the expansion of international golf tourism to Oregon, particularly in the Central Oregon region,” Itel said. “It’s also an incredible opportunity to grow the global golf travel business from other parts of the world by showcasing the exceptional golf product found throughout the state.
“Europe is currently the biggest overseas market for golf visitors, thanks to non-stop flights to Portland. NAC 2018 is also seen as a huge opportunity to boost golf tourism from Asia, particularly China, Korea and Japan. China and Japan are currently the state’s two biggest overseas visitor markets.”
Itel believes the growth of direct and indirect flights to Portland is a trend that will continue. “International visits to the US have outpaced the domestic travel demand over the past decade,” she added. “And, in Oregon, we are outpacing the national average of international visitation with a 6% increase in 2017, which is nearly double the total of international visitation, nationally.”
IAGTO’s Chief Executive, Peter Walton, said: “We could not have chosen a better place in which to stage our celebratory 10th North America Golf Tourism Convention. I believe that NAC is going to be momentous for Oregon, because it is one of the world’s lesser-known, but spectacular, golf destinations that should be on any golfer’s radar. There are some 30 golf courses within Central Oregon, including three Top 100 courses (Crosswater, Tetherow and Pronghorn), all of which have been incorporated into the fam tour programs and golf tournament.”
Walton added: “Our fams are also showcasing some of Oregon’s other great golf destinations including the Portland Region’s Tualatin Valley, Bandon Dunes and Southern Oregon.
“In addition, Sunriver Resort is celebrating its own 50th anniversary this year, so to be able to take over the entire resort as the summer season kicks off is a real privilege.”