International Pairs’ position as the largest tournament of its kind for club golfers in the world has reached new heights after the International Association for Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) gave its stamp of approval to the global event.
IAGTO’s 300 golf tour operators in 42 countries handle around 80% of all golf holiday packages sold out of Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Australasia. Now International Pairs qualifying events will be organised in conjunction with IAGTO and their member companies in six countries spread across the globe.
Peter Walton, chief executive of IAGTO, said, “International Pairs has established itself as a truly global event, with the opportunity for winners at the local level to travel to magnificent golf resorts and golf destinations both in the national and world finals.
“We are delighted to announce our support for International Pairs. This is the first time that IAGTO has endorsed a tournament event and we have chosen to do so for two key reasons. Firstly, we are all reliant in the golf tourism industry on the continued interest of the consumer in playing golf.
“If the percentage of golfers who take a golf vacation continues to remain constant over the next ten years as it has for the past decade, then the continued growth in golf tourism will be very much dependent on the growth of golf as a participation sport. Therefore, it is in all our interests to support activities that encourage and reward people for getting out on the golf course.
“Secondly, International Pairs showcases great golf destinations, both in its national and world finals. More than 500,000 golfers have participated in the tournament and many more will have heard about it. This hands-on publicity for both domestic and international golf holidays makes a great contribution to our own efforts to highlight the enjoyment that can be had out of packing your golf clubs along with your suitcase!”
The 2007 International Pairs world final was staged last month at the luxurious Fairmont St Andrews Golf Resort and Spa where competitors from 22 countries including China, South Africa, Nigeria, Thailand and Iceland gathered to take part in the 36-hole event.
International Pairs has been backed by VisitScotland for the last five years – and the national Scottish tourist body has committed to be the tournament’s main sponsor until at least 2008.