Northern Nevada’s twin sporting destination of Reno Tahoe will host the 12th annual North America Golf Tourism Convention (NAC) in 2020 following a successful, star-studded shootout and event in the Texas Lake and Hill Country.
The announcement was made by NAC organiser and global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO at Horseshoe Bay Resort near Austin, where the 2019 convention attracted tour operators from all over the world as well as IAGTO member golf destination suppliers from across the Americas.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming IAGTO NAC delegates to Reno, the ‘Biggest Little City in the World,’ the City of Sparks, and to our sports playground of Lake Tahoe,” said Nick Saccomanno, National Sports Sales Manager of Reno Tahoe. “There are more than 50 golf courses throughout the destination and, with 300 days of sunshine, it is the perfect year-round golfing destination.”
The 11th NAC, attended by 400 delegates from 38 countries, was hosted by Horseshoe Bay Resort. To launch the event on the first day, the resort staged its fourth annual Shootout on the exclusive Jack Nicklaus-designed Summit Rock golf course between PGA pro stars Rich Beem, John Senden, Brendan de Jonge and Grayson Murray, with the Beem/Murray pairing taking the honours.
IAGTO CEO Peter Walton said: “In IAGTO’s 22-year existence, this was actually our first-ever event in the Lone Star State and, with the support of Travel Texas, Visit Austin and Visit San Antonio, we were able to showcase some tremendous golf destinations and vibrant Texan cities to well over 100 golf tour operators, most of whom were not familiar with what Texas has to offer the golf visitor. So I think that we more than made up for our absence in previous years!”
He added: “Texas was clearly a great choice as NAC attracted record numbers of buyers and suppliers, and in fact we were unable to accommodate all of the suppliers who wanted to attend. This is partly due to our ever-expanding membership here in the USA & Canada, which has now passed the 300 mark. We now have close to 100 golf tour operators located in North America, of which 78% also sell golf vacations domestically as well as internationally. That is a huge increase on 10 years ago.
“Our supplier members in the USA and Canada operate 190 18-hole equivalent courses, along with 86 hotels, the majority of which are integrated golf resorts. They work in tandem with 27 specialist inbound golf tour operators and 53 state and regional tourist boards, and through their IAGTO membership many were able to attend NAC, where they showcased their product to domestic and international operators who last year took 562,000 golfers on vacation.
During the NAC Golf Tournament, IAGTO members were privileged to be the first to play the newly-renovated Apple Rock golf course as well as the acclaimed Ram Rock course – two of three Robert Trent Jones Sr layouts at Horseshoe Bay Resort that complement the signature Jack Nicklaus Summit Rock course.
Most also participated in familiarisation tours before and after NAC, visiting golf resorts, golf courses and attractions including a racing car experience on Austin’s Formula 1 host track, the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), besides exploring the cities of Austin, San Antonio and Houston.
Expressing delight at bringing NAC 2019 to the state, Travel Texas Tourism Director Brad Smyth said: “Hosting this event is exceedingly important for Texas. We are thrilled with our partnership with IAGTO as we know that in the international market, Texas golf is not as well known, particularly in Europe and Asia.
“One the great things about golf in Texas is that there are so many different experiences in different geographical settings. It’s so scenic. Golf is year-round, especially when you get to the coastal areas.”
Smyth also highlighted the state’s other experiences golfing visitors can enjoy, such as the culture and diversity of its cities, dude ranches and cowboy experiences, and birding – “and it’s such a welcoming environment.”
“Getting to Texas is easier than ever and now we have direct flights to Austin with Lufthansa from Frankfurt as well as with British Airways and Norwegian from London.”
Bryan Woodward, managing director of Horseshoe Bay Resort commented: “We were thrilled to get it. There’s so many great things in Texas: food, the Gulf Coast, live music. So golf isn’t talked about as much or as often in Texas as maybe Arizona, Florida, California and even northern Michigan. So for us to get this exposure is huge. I’m just really proud of our fam partners and all our sponsors that got on board and really brought it together to end up making it the largest-attended NAC to date.
“We can see an uplift in everything as a result of this: more international travellers and more domestic visitors. We want those people who aren’t from Texas experiencing Central Texas, Austin, San Antonio and Horseshoe Bay Resort. We have MLS soccer teams. Formula 1 is very popular now. We have wineries in the area. There’s just so much to do here. You can come and play world-class golf at Horseshoe Bay Resort but then experience so many different things in such close proximity.”
Registration for NAC 2020, which takes place in Reno Tahoe from 7-10 June 2020, is now live on www.iagto.com/NAC
Pictured top: Buyer-supplier appointments, NAC 2019, Horseshoe Bay Golf Resort, Texas – (photo credit Peter Ellegard)