Brand USA – the destination-marketing organization for the United States – is partnering with the International Association of Golf Tour Operators to raise the profile of American golf-related tourism among global travellers.
IAGTO, headquartered in London, is an advocate for nearly 600 golf tour operators in 61 countries.
It also works with a network of close to 2,400 association members in 99 countries that are tied to golf tourism in order to develop optimal golfing experiences at golf destinations around the world.
The two organisations will evaluate the current state of golf tourism in the US through an online survey designed by IAGTO that will be issued to golf courses and golf resorts across the country.
Brand USA will promote the survey among local Convention and Visitors Bureaus as a prelude to forging marketing strategies that elevate golf tourism.
Peter Walton, IAGTO’s chief executive, unveiled the survey at his group’s seventh annual North America Golf Tourism Convention, held in Palm Springs, Calif.
“The important first step in any integrated golf tourism strategy is to calculate the current value of golf tourism and to assess its capacity for growth,” he said.
Walton added that the new initiative identifies 30 US states “as being most relevant and attractive to international visitors traveling for the primary purpose of playing golf”.
He said this year’s host organisation for the convention, the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, would be the first local tourism organisation to invite area golf venues to participate in the survey.
Palm Springs has more than a hundred 18-hole courses.
Tom Garzilli, senior vice-president for global partner marketing at Brand USA, who also addressed the convention, said: “The assessment provides a baseline from which to build, and the members of IAGTO present an audience that we can work with to develop appropriate golf tourism products.
“We can then work with our destination partners, the golf courses and CVBs to create meaningful cooperative-marketing programs that will resonate in US markets of all sizes.”
IAGTO’s convention at Palm Springs drew 103 golf tour operators from 23 countries and another 180 representatives of golf resorts, golf courses, hotels and tourist boards from the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America.