North West Ireland has won the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) award for European Golf Destination of the Year 2011.
The award was accepted on behalf of the region by John McLaughlin, general manager of North & West Coast Links Golf (N&WCL) which plays a large part in marketing the region’s courses.
More than 1,200 industry professionals from 60 countries attended the annual IAGTO awards ceremony and gala dinner in Valencia, Spain.
The event recognises and rewards exceptional contributions to the world of golf travel, and is voted for by IAGTO operators and members of the International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA).
A total of 20 European golf regions were nominated for the award by writers and around 350 international golf tour operators from 52 countries. That was whittled down to a shortlist of six: Fife in Scotland (which includes the world famous Old Course at St Andrews); the Czech Republic; Tenerife; Murcia, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and North West Ireland, which emerged victorious.
Established as a small marketing co-operative more than 20 years ago, N&WCL has grown from just four clubs to the premier golf marketing organisation in Ireland, representing 12 of the country’s finest courses: Ardglass, Royal Portrush, Portstewart, Ballyliffin, Portsalon, Rosapenna, Narin & Portnoo, Donegal, Co Sligo, Enniscrone, Carne Golf Links and Connemara Championship Links.
More than one third of the world’s links courses are in Ireland and N&WCL contains 12 of them.
Golf holiday packages with IAGTO are worth an estimated €1 billion annually and so far this year bookings at N&WCL have been up 40 per cent for 2010 compared to 2009, representing a major golf tourism spend in the region.
Visit www.northandwestcoastlinks.com or call +353 (0)91 868642 for further details on the North & West Coast Links.
To view imagery of the 12 links courses log on to http://www.northandwestcoastlinks.com/image-gallery