Last week (16th – 19th October 2023), countries from Thailand to Azerbaijan, the USA to South Africa, Malaysia to Saudi Arabia, Ireland to Italy, 47 countries supporting golf tourism through 380 exhibitors met with 305 golf travel agents and tour operators to meet and do business in Lisbon, Portugal, the home of IGTM for this year and in 2024.
David Griffiths, Event Manager for IGTM welcomed everyone; “We are delighted with the international support for this year’s event and are grateful to our host city of Lisbon that showed their hospitality with both a welcome networking party and of course our annual Golf Day where some 300 golfers took over 4 courses – Penha Longa, Quinta do Peru, Belas Clube de Campo, Lisbon Sports Club”.
Guy Moran, Head of Trademarks & Commercial Support, The PGA added; “IGTM consistently provides PGA Branded Properties with the opportunity to meet buyers from around the world, and this year has continued to deliver this tangible benefit to our highly valued client venues. The pre-event golf day and the welcome and farewell dinners also provide delegates with excellent networking opportunities to connect with old and new acquaintances which is so important in the people-driven golf tourism industry.”
Following the industry’s request for more opportunities to network and collaborate, IGTM expanded its speed networking event where 260 buyer tables and exhibitors were encouraged to meet in a specially created area of the show. “No fixed meetings, just free flow with the idea that any exhibitor could connect with any buyer of their choice – 2 hours of extra networking and a few beverages to help it along”, added Griffiths.
Over the three days, some 13,000 business appointments took place; “Of-course, this was just those that were recorded on the show floor, but we know many more take place during our key networking events and over lunches and dinners – this is how we plan and create IGTM to enable everyone attending to maximise their business opportunities to the full.” Added Griffiths.
Emerging destinations also attended this year which are important for many of the world’s golf tourism agents and tour operators, offering new options for their client’s travel plans. Senior Sales Consultant, Premier Golf USA, and journalist Dove Jones commented; “Having not been to the show for several years, I was pleased to see how far the quality of service, amenities, choice and diversity have come, especially in the emerging destinations. This is important for the US market, where travellers want to explore, enjoy different cultures and add some golf!”
This year, the event hosted some new exhibitors with the tourism board of Azerbaijan participating and promoting both culture and golf. Jon Brook, Director of Golf, Dreamland Golf Club Azerbaijan said; “Whilst it was our first time at IGTM representing the national golf course and the tourist board, I have attended previously. We are here to sell the country as a whole and we have had some interesting meetings with agents looking to combine golf with our culture. We have made great new connections and I have personally noticed this year that the buyers are here to do business, they really wanted to be here and that is great news post the pandemic”.
Expanding the event to qualified buyers and travel agents who have golf tourism in their sights saw many new faces attend for the first time. Catalina Canellas responsible for promotions at Mallorca Tourism said, “We have had a great IGTM for our 11 participants including hotels and courses from Mallorca. This year we have met with many new travel agents. With 24 courses on the island, IGTM is for sure a big business benefit to us. and we will definitely be back in 2024”.
Antonio Arias Ramires from Turismo de Cádiz added; ‘Feedback from our 11 suppliers taking part in this year’s ILTM has been fantastic. We have met with new and interesting buyers, all at high quality and eager to do business.”
This year also saw the biggest support from international travel media and golf specialist titles, some 30 from 12 countries attended. For the first time, 15 exhibitors met with media in 10 minute “speed networking” over 2 hours of networking, giving both the opportunity to meet and then follow up post show. “Next year we hope to offer more exhibitors this important option as we increase the range of media attending IGTM looking for content and news from across the show floor”, said Griffiths.
IGTM 2024 will take place 28th – 31st October once again at Feira Internacional de Lisboa.
The article IGTM Lisbon 2023: “Refreshing to see so many new tour operators and travel agents”. first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.