Slovenia hosted world’s biggest golf travel event: IGTM 2018

Published: 19.10.2018

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Slovenia hosted world’s biggest golf travel event: IGTM 2018

Slovenia hosted world’s biggest golf travel event: IGTM 2018

Slovenia hosted the world's biggest golf travel event – the 21st Golf Travel Market (IGTM) 2018 - from 15 to 18 October. The golf travel market attracts 1100 golf travel industry representatives and its members account for 80 percent of international golf travel sales. Three years ago, Slovenia was awarded the prestigious title of new golf travel destination, which made a key contribution to our country’s increased visibility as a desirable golf destination. Selecting Slovenia as the host of the annual meeting of members of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) was an important step towards the country's establishment as a distinguished destination for five-star active experiences for golf lovers.

Slovenia - the host of 21st edition of IGTM 

Slovenia, a country with one of the highest growth rates among the European golf destinations, hosted the 21st International Golf Travel Market (IGTM). The golf travel market took place at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Centre. Five-day study tours of Slovenian golf courses have been put together for 160 travel market participants.

The IGTM is the biggest world event for golf tourism service providers and customers and the most important event organised by the leading international association of golf tour operators (IAGTO). The event was organised together with the Golf Tourism Association of Slovenia, the Slovenian Tourist Board and Ljubljana TourismThe Ministry of Economic Development and Technologyhighlighted the great importance of this tourist product as part of specifically active products that offer outdoor experiences in nature.

Slovenia is a perfect destination for golfers

On this occasion, Eva Štravs Podlogar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, stressed that "The promotion and the supply of five-star green, active and wholesome experiences is the core of Slovenian tourism’s strategy of sustainable development. Given its topography, Slovenia has exceptional potential to offer top services, which could also satisfy gold players with the most sophisticated taste. Hosting the IGTM is an opportunity to upgrade our golf courses and provide guests with an integral package of experiences by observing global trends and gold players' wishes. A golf match itself can last an entire morning, which leaves guests less time for other tourist products, and Slovenia, a small yet diverse country, has an important advantage in this respect. Guests who play 18 holes in the morning can still have lunch on the coast and take an evening stroll in Ljubljana old town. It is therefore essential to ensure cooperation between all those involved in tourist activities in Slovenia."

Maja Pak, Director of the Slovenian Tourist Board, stressed the great importance of the golf travel market for improving Slovenia's visibility as a distinguished golf destination: "The Slovenian Tourist Board is pleased that Slovenia is hosting the biggest golf travel market in the world.It is the largest tourist business event in Slovenia this year, which makes for a great opportunity to improve Slovenia's visibility as a golf destination. We joined the project together with our partners, GIZ Golf Slovenija and Ljubljana Tourism, with the support of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, three years ago, when Slovenia put itself in the tourism spotlight after winning the title of "Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year 2015". The golf travel market attracts the participation of 739 representatives from golf courses, resorts and hotels, 360 organisers of golf tours, and 40 representatives of media specialising in golf. Moreover, 160 participants, who are on a study tour of Slovenian golf courses, will get first-hand experience of Slovenia as a boutique destination for five-star active golfing experiences. The positive trend in the growth of the number of golf players in recent years points to the great potential of Slovenia's tourism."

"Since the very start, Ljubljana has supported the project and also joined with the aim of making Slovenia and Ljubljana more visible on the European map of golf destinations," stressed Petra Stušek, Director of Ljubljana Tourism and added: "The fact is that golfers spend an average of 180 to 220 euros a day and that they focus primarily on a good golf course, and then afterwards pay a great attention also to food. Ljubljana has become internationally recognized, in terms of selected top-class gastronomic experiences and has a lot to offer to these guests. As an additional advantage, we aim to highlight diverse range of attractions for getting to know the city and the surrounding region."

"IGTM is both a sales and the most important promotion event promoting golf tourism in Slovenia. The most prominent global golf industry representatives arrive at the conference venue, where they get a first-hand experience of the target destination. The fact is that it is extremely difficult to attract the interest of golf industry stakeholders in a lesser known destination and put it on their map of events. The many promotional excursions to which they have been invited for years cannot be as successful as attracting them to a destination, where, together with their business partners, they can discover the beauties and the quality of services that Slovenia can certainly provide" said Žiga Osterc, President of the Economic Interest Grouping Golf Slovenije, and added: "At the end of 2014, Slovenia received the IGTM Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year Award 2015, which prompted our decision to bring the IGTM to Slovenia. This goal was achieved in cooperation with STB, Ljubljana Tourism and major hotels and golf courses in Slovenia." 

Characteristics of golf tourism

Golf tourists particularly appreciate being in close contact with pristine natural environments and take interest in other attractions and amenities in their tourist destination, such as superb gastronomic experiences and wellness services. At the same time, golf tourists significantly contribute to the achievement of the main goal of Slovenia's tourism, i.e. higher added value, since they spend significantly more than average tourists.

Business meetings and destination presentations held on the occasion of the golf travel market attract the participation of 739 representatives of golf courses, resorts and hotels, 360 organisers of golf tours and 40 representatives of media specialising in golf. A specialised event is also being held by Reed Exhibitions, which, among other things, also organises the World Travel Market (WTM) in London and many other major tourist travel markets across the world.

Great value!

In 2017, Slovenia was visited by more than 15,000 golf tourists from abroad, who played 21,000 matches. Their spending was estimated at EUR 3.9 million of Slovenia's total economic income, a one-fifth increase in comparison to 2015.

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