One year on from the appointment of global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO by the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism to develop and implement a national golf tourism strategy, the country’s golf tourism industry and governing bodies gathered at a forum during the 2015 Hassan II Trophy in Agadir to unveil plans for the project’s second year.
Presentations and lively discussion covered destination branding and marketing, and the issues of sustainability – in particular water resource management.
One of the key announcements at the forum, held at the Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay Resort on Friday, 27 March, was the appointment of the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) to begin the process of implementing a sustainability initiative throughout the country.
IAGTO’s Chief Executive, Peter Walton, said: “One of our primary recommendations last year was for Morocco to adopt a national approach to sustainability across all of its 36 golf facilities.
“Apart from the obvious benefits to nature, communities and in reducing pressure on precious natural resources, a well-structured sustainability plan brings real business benefits – driving down costs and improving the golfing experience.”
At the signing ceremony, GEO Chief Executive Jonathan Smith said: “We are delighted to be working closely with the Ministry and IAGTO on this landmark project – the first time that a National Tourism Ministry has actively invested in the sustainable development of golf. We have a clear plan of action over the first year, which will provide practical support to individual facilities – while the longer term plan will identify and begin to address some of the strategic challenges and opportunities that face the sector.”
Details of the sustainability plan for Morocco’s golf courses will be unveiled shortly.
A raft of other IAGTO-recommended golf tourism initiatives were ratified by the four governing bodies – Association Hassan II (ATH), Morocco National Tourism Office (MNTO), Royal Moroccan Golf Federation (FRGM) and the National Confederation of Tourism (CNT) – at the meeting.
Working in tandem with the MNTO, IAGTO will assist in:
- Development of a Golf in Morocco website
- Organisation of familiarisation trips for golf tour operators and press trips for golf media to visit recent golf developments
- Consultation on a certification programme to recognise excellence in the delivery of the best possible golf tourism experience
MNTO Chief Executive Abderrafia Zouitene commented: “We are very impressed with what IAGTO was able to deliver in nine months last year, helping to position Morocco in the best possible way to attract more interest from golf travellers and more business from golf tour operators. In conjunction with IAGTO, we will push forward even further this year as we strive to make golfers throughout Europe and further afield more aware of the incredible golf experiences that await discovery here in Morocco.”
IAGTO’s Walton concluded that Morocco was “showing the way forward in pioneering fashion by both implementing an integrated golf tourism strategy which embraced environmental sustainability and social responsibility on a national level.”
He added: “This is a long-term commitment with immediate benefits and we congratulate the ATH, MNTO, FRMG and CNT on their vision and leadership.”
Golf Environment Organization www.golfenvironment.org