Organized by International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO), the 7th annual North America Golf Tourism Convention (NAC) got under way this week in Greater Palm Springs with more than 300 delegates including 103 tour operators from 23 countries and some 180 representatives from golf resorts, golf courses, hotels, receptive operators and tourist boards from 17 states in the USA as well as from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America.
More than 2,200 15-minute appointments were pre-scheduled between tour operators and suppliers during event at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, with an equal number of ad-hoc meetings and discussions expected throughout the two days of business sessions.
Scott White, President and CEO of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, was delighted that the destination, which comprises nine cities with 112 18-hole championship golf courses, was hosting NAC this year.
“Palm Springs has gone through a bit of a renaissance over the past five or six years and we wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to share all of the improvements that have happened in the destination not only with the IAGTO member buyers but also with the industry suppliers for that matter. I think it’s important to show what’s happening here.
“Golf still remains one of the top attractions for our destination. We are probably one of the few destinations that have had literally no fall-off in terms of golf courses closing. If anything we are seeing that our golf business is up over previous years.
“Accessibility of the destination is also very important, so our proximity to San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Ontario airport and having our own airport is really making it easy for people from all over the world to get here.”
At the Opening Address on 15 June, IAGTO announced the launch of a National Golf Tourism Benchmarking project for the USA in collaboration with Brand USA in a bid to lay the foundations for further golf tourism promotion to the country.
Hosted by the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, the convention, took place from June 14-17, supported by Brand USA and Visit California in addition to international sponsors Gleneagles, Kingsbarns Golf Links, Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links from Scotland, ProColombia, Troon Golf Vacations, Golf Ireland, Fairways Golf, Oitavos Dunes and the Andalucia Tourist Board.