The 15th annual IAGTO Awards have honoured destinations, golf courses and golf resorts from all over the world, with winners coming from the US states of North and South Carolina, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Slovenia, China, Mexico, Morocco and Ireland.
The prestigious IAGTO Awards are the official annual awards for the golf tourism industry and are run by global industry organisation IAGTO (International Association of Golf Tour Operators). This year’s honours were presented during a spectacular Gala Dinner on Thursday, 30 October in front of 1,500 golf industry professionals in the grandiose setting of Villa Erba, on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como, at the end of the 2014 International Golf Travel Market.
The evening also included recipients from Scotland, Portugal, the United Arab Emirates and Puerto Rico receiving IAGTO Sustainability Awards. These awards, coordinated in partnership with the Golf Environment Organization for the second year running, recognise excellence in environmental sustainability and social responsibility at IAGTO member golf courses around the world. Costantino Rocca, Italy’s most successful professional golfer, with five wins on the European Tour and two wins on the European Seniors Tour, became IAGTO’s 15th Honorary Award recipient. Headline sponsor for the second year was Etihad Airways. It was the first carrier to sign up to IAGTO’s Preferred Airline scheme, launched in 2005 to recognise golfer-friendly airlines that carry golf bags free of charge in addition to standard baggage allowance.
2015 IAGTO Awards Winners
Golf Destination of the Year – North America: Charleston, South Carolina
Golf Destination of the Year – Latin America & Caribbean: Cancun-Riviera Maya, Mexico
Golf Destination of the Year – Africa & Gulf States: Marrakech, Morocco
Golf Destination of the Year – Europe: Dublin East Coast, Ireland
Golf Destination of the Year – Asia & Australasia: Sanya, China
Golf Resort of the Year – Rest of the World: Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
Golf Resort of the Year – North America: Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina
Golf Resort of the Year – Europe: PGA Catalunya Resort, Spain
Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year: Slovenia
IAGTO Honorary Award: Costantino Rocca
IAGTO Sustainability Award Winners
Overall category – Sustainable Golf Course of the Year: Dundonald Links, Scotland
Community Integration category: Vidago Palace Golf Course, Portugal
Efficient Use of Resources category: Emirates Golf Club, UAE
Nature category: Bahia Beach Resort & GC, Puerto Rico
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “The annual IAGTO Awards were established 15 years ago in order to recognise and reward exceptional contributions to the world of golf travel. Only a handful of awards are presented each year, which gives great credibility to the event and prestige to the recipients. “Most importantly, the eight golf destination and golf resort categories are voted for by hundreds of specialist golf tour operators across the globe, who cast their votes only for destinations and resorts with which they are familiar. The operators are guided to select golf resorts that have excelled in their care and maintenance of hotel and golf course, customer service and value for money; and for golf destinations that have delivered the best possible experience to their golf travelling clients, all in the past 12 months.
“Similarly, our Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year Award is voted for by specialist golf travel writers who are uniquely positioned to consider the merits of the hundreds of lesser known yet aspiring golf destinations across the globe. The members of the International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) take this to heart and there is never a shortage of worthy candidates in this category.” Walton added: “I am particularly proud that not only have the IAGTO Awards become the pinnacle of professional achievement within the global golf tourism industry, but that they also now serve to encourage private and public sector organisations to work closely together in the development and promotion of new and existing golf destinations, making them accessible to and enjoyable by the widest range of golfers. “The IAGTO Awards are now part of the fabric of the golf tourism industry, respected throughout the industry and recognised by golf travellers the world over.” IAGTO www.iagto.com