The 5th International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) North America Golf Tourism Convention takes place June 26-29, 2013 at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa. With more than 100 golf tour operators from more than 20 different countries that sell North America golf vacations attending, the event brings great opportunity for local tourism marketers to increase future booking for golf travel to Florida’s Paradise Coast.
This prestigious golf travel and tourism industry event brings golf suppliers, venues and buyers together to learn the latest industry updates, research new tour package opportunities and book business. Hosting the conference in the destination represents a two-year effort by the CVB’s UK and USA sales and marketing teams. Group meetings and conferences represent about one-third of total annual visitation in Collier County. The IAGTO event brings positive economic impact from hotel stays as well as food and beverage spending and shopping by conference attendees, plus the impact of future travel book as a result of so many golf tour operators here to experience the destination. Additional sponsors include VISIT FLORIDA and Moet Hennessy.
IAGTO’s director Carlton Carugati said, “We welcome taking our North America Convention back to Florida, as it is a leading golf tourism region within the USA. The Naples/Marco Island area’s excellent golf courses, hotels and facilities really lend themselves to being a top golf destination in Florida and we believe introducing international and domestic tour operators to this region will result in more golf tourists enjoying Florida’s Paradise Coast in the future.”
The conference includes a golf tournament at Marco Island Marriott’s courses, The Rookery & Hammock Bay, and a dine-around event at various restaurants on downtown Naples’ Fifth Avenue South.
“Golf travel is a key target market segment for us due to the higher average spending per visitor and more affluent customer, and we plan to take full advantage of hosting so many top international and USA golf tour operators in the destination for a firsthand look at the experiences we offer,” said Jack Wert, Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) tourism executive director.
According to the National Golf Foundation, Naples ranks first in its latest national Golf Holes Per Capita survey. With 90 courses in Collier County, there are plenty of choices for pleasure or punishment, depending on the players’ skills and eagerness. While many courses are for private members only, there is a great variety of public courses, as well as many semi-private courses which are open for public play at excellent rates during the low season between May and December.
IAGTO’s membership comprises 2,117 accredited golf tour operators, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, receptive operators, airlines, tourist boards, approved media and business partners in 91 countries including, at its core, 505 specialist golf tour operators in 61 countries. It is estimated that IAGTO’s operators control over 85% of golf vacation/holiday packages sold worldwide and with economic turnover of over $1.5 billion per year. IAGTO is headquartered in London.
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About Paradise Coast
Whether travelers are looking for a romantic escape or family getaway, Florida’s Paradise Coast — Naples, Marco Island and the western portion of the Everglades — has an array of vacation options year-round. With more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches, a thriving arts and culture scene, distinctive dining and the best of outdoor adventure, the Paradise Coast is truly a destination with it all.
Located just two hours from Miami, four hours from Orlando and three hours from Tampa, the Paradise Coast is easily accessible from some of Florida’s largest cities. Travelers outside of the Sunshine State can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport, which provides nonstop service to 41 destinations (37 domestic and four international) on 19 air carriers.