Morocco, Gran Canaria, Ireland and Lisbon Golf Coast’s Royal Obidos golf resort joined forces with global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO at its inaugural UK Golf Day.
The event, staged at Brocket Hall Golf Club in Hertfordshire, was attended by 28 golf tour operators and 12 golf travel journalists.
And at a dinner following the golf tournament, plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of golf in Morocco and continue to grow the game in the country were unveiled by the Moroccan Tourist Office, one of the day’s sponsors.
Revealing that 2014 marks the centenary of the opening of Morocco’s first golf course - the Tangier Royal Country Club - Jamal Boujrad, communication manager of the MNTO in the UK, announced that IAGTO had been appointed to work alongside the tourist board, the Hassan II Trophy Association, the Morocco Golf Federation and Morocco’s National Tourism Confederation to oversee the development and implementation of a national golf tourism strategy.
A series of events commemorating the centenary was also taking place during 2014, he added.
In the 17 years since it was first established, IAGTO has grown to encompass 2,250 member companies worldwide including 554 golf tour operators in 62 countries, of which 172 in 35 countries feature, promote and sell Morocco as a golf destination.
There are 53 IAGTO golf tour operators in the UK, of which 28 sell Morocco, making it a very popular golf destination for British golf holidaymakers.
According to IAGTO’s 2014 Golf Tourism Survey, Morocco is the ninth most important golf destination for golf tour operators worldwide and in 2013 was the sixth-fastest growing golf destination.
IAGTO chief executive Peter Walton said: “Morocco is one of the few countries which is actively building new golf courses at the moment and this year alone should see the opening of three new golf courses.
“The promise of guaranteed weather, great and varied golf, ancient history and modern culture is a massive draw for golf travellers who will find availability of tee times even in the most popular months. Golfers from the UK will enjoy the lack of time zone change and short direct flying times.”
Other sponsors of the IAGTO Golf Day were: Gran Canaria, with representatives from the Gran Canaria Golf Association and five golf courses on the island; Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort, where a 39-room boutique hotel opens alongside the last golf course designed by Seve Ballesteros on July 1st; and Tourism Ireland.
Boujrad added: “Golf in Morocco is celebrating its 100th year since the construction of the first golf course in Tangier.
“With some 30 courses now across the country, this shows how entrenched golf is in the modern Moroccan culture.
“We hope that British golfers unfamiliar with Morocco will consider our country for their next golf vacation where they will be able to enjoy more golf, more sun and more time!”
The UK Golf Day is one of a series of golf days being organised in Europe and Scandinavia this year by IAGTO, bringing tour operator members and the media together with sponsor partners, with two similar events having taken place in Germany and one being staged in Sweden on July 2nd.
Moroccan tourism will be given a further boost this year, when the World Travel Awards hosts its 2014 Grand Final in the tourism hotspot of Marrakech.
Winners from the six regional Gala Ceremonies will gather for the event to see who will claim the global titles.
Before that, sister event World Golf Awards will launch in at the Conrad Algarve.