IGTM Links 2020 virtual event hits over 10,500 business meetings; 650 exhibitors, showcasing resorts and courses from 68 countries; 400 buyers representing 43 countries. IGTM 2021 confirmed at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.
The 23rd edition of International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions went virtual this year with a one off IGTM Links that took place last week (20th – 22nd October 2020). The event hit a record number of attendees over its three-days with over 1,400 buyers and suppliers engaged in one-to-one meetings to help plan 2021 golf tourism and beyond.
IGTM Links, was a state-of-the-art online meeting platform that gave golf courses, golf resorts and destinations access to almost 10,500 flexible meetings with international golf tour operators and media. During the three days there were also content sessions that helped analyse and debate issues that gave an insight into how the revival of golf tourism was going to be different following this year’s lack of travel and also a look at how to lure the US golfer overseas.
Clinton Norris from Troon International joined fellow panellists Peter Walton from IAGTO and Sam Barker from Golfbreaks.com in a discussion about the ‘what the revival of golf tourism will look like’ and also the emergence of ‘safe destinations’. “We are seeing the growth in popularity of private islands in the Maldives which are performing better than last year because they are family friendly. It gives guests their own private space and seclusion and we see the same with Seychelles and Mauritius”, said Norris.
The session on ‘how to attract the US golfer’ included insights from Protravel’s Melissa Porzak and Distincte Golf & Travel’s Sean Winton; who described what his clients were looking for over and above their golf when they travel saying; “It’s service driven and quality and the US market will pay for it as they expect it. There is no ask too great and delivering on it is a win for the operators in Europe.”
More than 35 international golf travel writers, publications and contributors also took part meeting with exhibitors so that their brands can benefit from additional editorial opportunities in the media’s travel pages.
650 exhibitors in total attended IGTM this week showcasing 68 countries.
Commenting on her participation at IGTM Links, Matina Mpouga from Costa Navarino in Greece commented; “I think, we all have missed the physical IGTM, but we need to adapt ourselves to the new reality. It’s always great pleasure to get in contact with our partners through any channel. Looking forward to the next IGTM!”
David Ashington from Monte Rei Golf & Country Club added; “Incredibly busy IGTM for us with many meetings hosted by all 3 staff. Excellent system allowing so many resorts and tour operators to network effectively. Well done IGTM.”
Evelyn Gruber from Mie Golf Tourism Organisation said: “While I do miss the social aspect, the effectiveness and productivity of these online meetings has been excellent. Besides, seeing all your friends and colleagues, meeting new people and talking about our most favourite topic fuels our energy and keeps us moving forward in these challenging times.”
Petra Darmstadter from Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf said: “IGTM Links has exceeded my expectations as it has been a very intense and productive few days of meeting with loyal and new buyers. The buyer participation and quality has been excellent, and the live chat system was outstanding. It was very important to reconnect to develop new experience ideas together for the near future. And be ready for the golfers when they can travel safely again. The online event format shouldn’t replace the physical, face-to-face IGTM meetings as I missed the networking and unscheduled chats. I look forward to this next year in Wales.”
Leanne Rice from Tourism Northern Ireland commented: “Golf tourism is incredibly valuable to our economy so promoting the Northern Irish golf product is very important for us and our industry. It was wonderful that IGTM Links was created, it is an event we have attended for many years, and although it was not the same spirit as the IGTM we are familiar with – with the wonderful networking events and golf tournament, it was wonderful to reengage with golf tour operators from all corners of the globe. It was fantastic to see the interest in golf in Northern Ireland is still very strong and we value the business all golf operators send, and we look forward to meeting the operators and wider golf tourism industry in person next year in Wales.”
Among the 400 buyers attending IGTM Links from 43 countries included Kimmo Ekroth, Co-Founder, Sports Travel Group in the UK. “IGTM Links has exceeded my expectations. Everyone I’ve met has been in great spirits and keen to help each other. It has been vital to speak with the national tourist boards and learn about their support for future business. Looking forward to IGTM 2021 to meet with old friends and make new ones.”
Pascale Despieres from Parcours & Voyages in France said: “IGTM Links was a great success for us and gave us time to reconnect and reset. It’s always a pleasure to see our long-time business partners again and discuss future opportunities but also a time to discover new destinations and meet with new suppliers. We wish all IGTM members and associates the best for the next coming months and we look forward to meeting you all in 2021 in Celtic Manor.”
Melissa Porzak from Protravel in the US added: “Although it’s difficult to substitute face to face contact, the IGTM virtual meetings were extremely beneficial to me and my travel business. The seamless connection for my meetings enabled me to engage with suppliers in an easy and effective way. I enjoyed not only learning about the properties or services offered by these suppliers, but also discussing the current travel situation in their prospective location. We shared positive thoughts for the near future when the world will open to all of us again. I am excited that following an IGTM meeting, I am organizing a golf group to the UK for Fall 2021. Great job IGTM Team!"
David Todd, IGTM Event Manager concluded: “With restrictions impacting travel across the world, we made the decision to launch the first ever digital IGTM. We’re delighted to see the industry come together, demonstrating the desire and demand is still very much there for golf tourism despite a very challenging year. IGTM Links hasn’t been a direct replacement for IGTM. We could never replicate the energy and the passion of the live event. It has been a free networking platform for the industry to come together and share ideas. I look forward to reconnecting with everyone face to face in Wales in 2021.”
IGTM 2021 will take place from 18-21 October 2021 held at the ICC Wales and Celtic Manor Resort. It will be first time the event will take place in the UK.