Each year, the IAGTO Sustainability Awards, which form part of the golf tourism industry’s wider IAGTO Awards, recognise excellence in environmental and social responsibility. They are awarded by global golf tourism trade association IAGTO in conjunction with non-profit golf sustainability body, the GEO Foundation, and sanction GEO Certified venues in three key areas of sustainability – Nature, Resources and Community.
“As a certified venue since 2013, PGA Catalunya Resort has long fostered a strong environmental ethos, steadily transforming itself into an important and recognised ecological reserve,” commented CEO David Plana. “From the use of 100% recycled water to irrigate our two critically-acclaimed courses, the landscaped areas of the estate and the properties’ individual gardens, to the recruitment of our own resident biologist, Oriol Dalmau, we have invested in a number of programmes that aim to support the wildlife of the estate.”
The European Tour Destination soon realised that while many species of plant and animal in the wider region were struggling, the local flora and fauna on the estate were now flourishing. Local breeds of bats, birds, frogs, tortoises and certain plant varieties were all benefiting from PGA Catalunya Resort’s own particular ecosystem, not to mention the colony of one million bees of a local endangered variety, which is now thriving.
“The multitude of unique nature-based activities on offer at PGA Catalunya Resort have helped it develop a unique identity away from golf,” commented Jonathan Smith, GEO Foundation Executive Director. “Be it bird watching around the lakes, a guided tour of the tree species, beekeeping workshops, or capturing, labelling and releasing endangered native turtles, people of all ages have been attracted to take part and develop new skills, as well as learn about and experience the wildlife this 36-hole resort nurtures.
“PGA Catalunya Resort is also home to an ecological, organic garden, a five-hectare vineyard and 18 hives from which it produces its own honey,” he continued. “It’s a multi-functional facility that is delighted to share its natural surroundings with the local community and tourists alike. It’s therefore a worthy winner of the Nature category for 2020.”
In celebration of the 20th annual IAGTO Awards, a new category was introduced – Hotel Experience Award – which recognises hotels in 25 key countries/regions that deliver the best possible experience for visiting golf travellers. The association’s 700+ golf tour operators voted PGA Catalunya Resort’s Hotel Camiral as the outright winner for Spain, rewarding the 5* hotel for its outstanding product, service and experience their clients had enjoyed in the past year.