Golf tour operators will get the chance to explore Oregon when the 10th annual North America Golf Tourism Convention (NAC) heads to the central region of the Beaver State in 2018.
The event, organized by global golf tourism organization IAGTO, is being staged at Sunriver Resort, near the town of Bend in Central Oregon, from 24-27 June 2018. For state and regional tourism officials it will be a chance to showcase the incredible golf product of Central Oregon: more than 30 courses that, when combined with world-renowned Bandon Dunes on the coast, is set to make Oregon one of the most desirable locations for golf travellers.
“While many know Oregon because of the success of Bandon Dunes, there is much more to the Oregon golf experience – and Central Oregon is a story in itself,” said Teresa O’Neill, Travel Oregon Vice President, Global Sales.
Alana Hughson, CEO of the Central Oregon Visitors Association, added: “Three of the US Top 100 golf courses (Crosswater, Pronghorn and Tetherow) are located in Central Oregon and the PGA Champion’s Tour was held at Sunriver’s Crosswater from 2007-2010, but our destination offers much more than an award-winning golf experience.
“Bend-Sunriver is famous as an outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise, with world-renowned fly fishing, cycling, hiking and rock climbing, as well as Oregon’s famous wineries and microbreweries.”
Central Oregon enjoys more than 300 days of sunshine each year and is home to golf courses designed by some of the game’s greatest golf course designers. Hughson added: “Within the state of Oregon the variety of golf is extraordinary, and in Central Oregon alone the golf experience spans the wetlands of Crosswater to the high desert of Pronghorn.”
Both O’Neill and Hughson see NAC 2018 as being a turning point in the expansion of international golf tourism to Oregon and particularly the Central Oregon region, as well as a great opportunity to grow the domestic golf travel business from other parts of the USA.
“Canadians are our number one international market,” said O’Neill. “They have long known about Oregon, and know it for golf. We have grown that market from the west coast and now with new flights from Toronto, the east coast of Canada is discovering Oregon as well.
“Of course, international travelers are an important market for golfing in Central Oregon because they stay four times as long and spend four times as much as other visitors,” said Hughson, adding, “the US domestic market is also a core focus for NAC 2018 and Central Oregon with nearly 20 flights a day into Redmond from US airports.”
Europe is currently the biggest overseas market for golf visitors, thanks to non-stop flights to Portland. However, 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.
Besides golf, Oregon offers a huge array of sights and activities to visitors, including world-class pinot noir and pinot gris wines from its 702 wineries, more than 350 miles of coast with all beaches open to the public, the highest number of scenic byways and bikeways of any state in the USA, year-round skiing on Mt Hood, the crystal-clear blue waters of Crater Lake National Park, tax-free shopping and a farm to table culinary scene. Furthermore, quirky and sophisticated Portland, boasting 84 of the state’s 300-plus microbreweries, and home to Nike, has earned the nickname “Munich on the Willamette”. There are no less than 30 microbreweries in Bend itself for NAC delegates to enjoy.
“You have to visit Oregon to understand Oregon,” O’Neill declared. “I think this is one of our biggest opportunities for inspiring travelers to choose Oregon. Once visitors experience this place firsthand, they want to see more of the state.”
She added: “It is both an honor and a privilege for Oregon to be selected as the host destination for NAC in 2018. Oregon truly is a golfer’s paradise and we invite delegates to share the passion we have for Oregon golf and hope they have the experience of a lifetime to take home with them and inspire their clients to visit.”
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “I visited Oregon for the first time last summer and I found the entire experience quite breathtaking. I had anticipated some stunning landscapes, but the quality, variety and beauty of the golf in Central Oregon is exceptional. It was the easiest decision of the past 10 years to award NAC 2018 to Oregon and I know that our golf tour operators from around the world are going to be blown away by the experience!”
The 10th NAC in Central Oregon will take place from 24-27 June, 2018.
The 9th NAC takes place in Miami from 25-28 June 2017 www.iagto.com/NAC