The Czech Republic was declared ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year 2007’ at the 7th IAGTO Awards held during the International Golf Travel Market in Marbella last week. This success was achieved on the back of last year’s nomination for the award and on the occasion of only the county’s second time at this trade fair, a feat no other country has ever achieved.
The Czech Republic is experiencing an extraordinary golf boom, underlined by the fact that whereas there were only three 18-hole courses in 1990 there are now 69.
There were 18 candidates for the title of ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination’ (Alabama, Argentina, The Azores, Bintan Island (Indonesia), Colorado, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, The Dominican Republic, Finland, Girona (Spain), Hainan Province (China), Hua Hin (Thailand), Idaho, Northern California, North Michigan, Oregon and Prince Edward Island.
Despite the tough competition, the Czech Republic carried off the award which represents one of the greatest achievements for the country in the field of golf tourism in 2006. “This is the result of a joint effort by CzechTourism and the Czech Golf Travel Association to promote Czech golf on an international level,” said the head of CzechTourism, Rostislav VondruÅ¡ka.
“Winning the award brings with it a certain feel-good factor, as well as a number of obligations and the necessity to respond to international interest on a national level. Now the Czech Republic is perceived and viewed as a golf destination which means business; this creates a necessity to focus on its development in this respect. CzechTourism will do everything it can to support golf companies and organisations and thus strengthen Czech golf’s position abroad. This of course means focusing on foreign clients and on promoting golf tourism. The Czech Republic invites all golf tourists to come and discover an undiscovered destination.
The ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year’ award is given at the annual IAGTO Awards by a panel of 60 golf journalists from 15 countries from The Golf Travel Writers Association. “I am very happy with this award,” said Mrs Marie Jehličkovà¡, president of the Czech Golf Travel Association. “The Czech Republic is without doubt a rapidly developing golf destination, but there is still a lot of work to do if we are to convince journalists and international tour operators that the Czech Republic is a place where people can come to play golf. We have taken the first steps towards this, and that is the most important thing.”
The marketing activities of the CzechTourism agency and the Czech Golf Travel Association to promote golf tourism will continue in 2007. The emphasis will be on press and fam. trips, participation in golf shows and more intense PR activities.
The aim of the annual IAGTO Awards is to stimulate organisations in the private and public sectors to work closely together to develop and promote new and existing golf destinations, and make them accessible to as great a number of golfers as possible.
“Every year a golf holiday for the 50 million golfers around the world is the highlight of their golfing year, and the IAGTO Awards are a way of rewarding a number of extraordinary contributions to golf tourism around the world,” said Peter Walton, president of the IAGTO. “We definitely do not have a shortage of candidates worthy of the awards. Many individuals, companies, organisations and destinations manage to give the golf tourist a unique golf experience, which should be the goal of all those involved in the golf tourism industry.”
The IAGTO Awards held at the same time as the International Golf Travel Market, organised by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) and the number one annual event for the golf tourism industry. The 9th International Golf Travel Market (20 – 23 November 2006) was the most successful in its history as far as the number of visiting buyers was concerned – in total 300 specialist golf tour operators from around the world attended and had the chance to speak with 392 exhibitors from 42 different countries.