Comments from IAGTO Andalucía Golf Trophy participants

Published on : Tuesday, May 19, 2015

IAGTOManuel Ortega, Golf Manager for the Andalucía Tourist Board: “There’s huge interest from all the tour operators in coming here to enhance the position of Andalucía as a golf destination and make it stronger. We are very happy and satisfied with our first activity with IAGTO. Our main goal is to really present and spread the word that Andalucía has much more to offer than maybe some tour operators know. We are ready for growth and ready to consolidate and expand. Our strength is that Andalucía is a unique combination of different golf destinations: Costa del Sol, Cádiz, Huelva, Almería and many more, offering culture, nature, great cities, fantastic gastronomy but also other activities quite apart from golf. I think the general feeling about golf tourism is positive. There is clearly a sign of recovery after the economic crisis and the rise in VAT on golf. I think that this demonstrates that Andalucía is one of the leaders in the market because of the location, the huge golf offering we have and the competition. It is unparalleled.”



Gian Carlo Nannini, President, Green Velvet Group, Italy: “It has been useful because it was an opportunity for me to meet so many suppliers in a short time and to get a general overview of what the market is offering. What was interesting was the fact that there are some boutique hotels that are new in this area. They will appeal to my clientele. The quality here has always been high. A number of the suppliers have said that it is important to complement their product offering with things like cultural events, gastronomy and other activities such as shopping. Even though the majority of the market is golf, golf, golf, part of the market wants to have a complete vacation. I think the golf product in Andalucía is very price competitive. You can get a good hotel with a round of golf for 100 euros per person and sometimes 60-70 euros, particularly in the low season from November to March which for me is the most interesting season because that is when my clients want to come here.”
Hans Ruijter, Owner,, Germany: “The whole thing was very positive for me. For many years I didn’t sell the Costa del Sol because of some negative perceptions in the German market including high rates. Now they have shown me that the golf here is competitive so I will bring Andalucía back into my portfolio. If I get good flights I will definitely start to bring my clients to the Costa del Sol and also to other parts of Andalucía. They don’t want to just go to Marbella and Puerto Banus. The speed dating was very useful to meet people and find out about their products, not just the golf; things like culture activities, hotels and whole package which my clients like and would want to pay for. We need destinations like this with so many courses so many courses to choose from and well-spaced out tee times, not every five minutes. That’s what I am looking for.”



Sean Skehan, Managing Director,, Ireland: “This event is very good. I am a believer in face-to-face contact. It is 40 years since I started coming to this area, but I have made some new contacts here. The great thing about this region is that the infrastructure is so good and the quality of the product is very high. Cadiz is my main area. I have got three groups of more than 100 people going out there in September and October.”
Benjamin Oosterveer, Country Manager Portugal & Spain, Hitabrick: “For us it was great. It was a bit of a test to see if the Spanish liked our product because it is very new. But they were very enthusiastic and they were coming up with a lot of ideas themselves. I think we will be very successful.”



Yulin Tjan, General Manager, Corendon Golf, Netherlands: “It has been very good for me. I have been very busy with meetings. I wanted to meet people and had a lot of appointments and it was very easy. This is our first season; we have just started Corendon Golf for the summer 2016 season. Andalucía has so much to offer. I will be back because I will not have seen everything on this trip. For golfers it is a very good destination and we might be able to increase business here considerably. We have two flights a week for the summer season from Amsterdam but we don’t really have many golfers on the plane and we will need to increase that. I think we can. You have excellent golf courses and resorts here. Villa Padierna is a great hotel with a great golf course. There is wide variety in the golf courses. The average handicap for our clients is 22 but we can combine our packages for low and average handicap golfers.”



Alan Quarterman, Managing Director,World Golf: “It has been pretty intense. Meeting with these people face to face who you only normally speak to on the phone or by email is always the best. It saves me time sending loads of emails to get prices. The Costa del Sol for me is going to be a new area. Even getting together with other tour operators on fam trips to see what they are doing is useful. You never stop learning.



Alicia Diaz Conde, Golf Promotions Manager, Huelva Tourist Board: “For me, this has been useful. Coming to this event was really important. It is a way to get to know lots of tour operators and people working with Huelva. You have a schedule of meetings and you know you are going to meet the right people. You are not going to waste your time. I have had a full calendar of meetings and we had three golf courses here as well who were also very busy. Golf tour operators know our area quite well but for general tourism maybe it is less well known by their clients. It is a hidden secret, but we have four golf resorts and eight golf clubs with 10 golf courses. I think golf tourism is increasing, from what I hear from the golf courses. They are increasing the number of golfers. We have a lot of nature areas. Nearly all of our golf courses are surrounded by protected areas and natural places. We are an unspoilt area and there are still places that nobody knows. The golf courses are quieter than in other areas and less expensive.”



Noemi Roman, Sales and Marketing Director, La Cala Resort: “The market is coming back to the Costa del Sol and now we are going to grow. We are very happy with this, and all the golf courses are very happy. Some of the tour operators have visited La Cala while they have been in Andalucía for this event. It is very useful. We are the biggest golf resort in Andalucía; we have three golf courses, a golf academy and a football pitch as well as a four-star hotel. We are improving the quality of the golf courses step by step. This year we opened a new academy. Last year it was a David Leadbetter academy but this year we decided to manage it ourselves and it is working very well. We are renovating our par-3 course. It has six holes at the moment but we are working to expand it to nine holes. We are in the planning stages so we don’t know if we can or not.”



Francisco de Lancastre David, Golf Manager, Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa: “The sentiment is very positive, for the hotel and the golf course. During the crisis we didn’t really feel it. Business was always going up because of the product itself and because we hosted the Volvo World Match Play tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2011. That definitely put us on the map. And the forecast is very good. The UK is our main market but we are also getting a lot of guests from Belgium, Holland, the US and Asia. It is quite spread out. Now we are developing the second phase of the real estate. This event is very good. It’s nice to see the tour operators face to face. We have seen a couple of new tour operators as well as the ones we already work with. It is also good to be with the other golf courses and hotels. We don’t see them as competitors. At the end of the day, we need the destination to improve and grow. That is positive for everybody.”



Antonio Arias Ramirez, Promotion Department, Cadiz Tourism: “We are supporting this event from the very beginning. As Cadiz as a destination we are ready to help this event in the next few years. We will be here supporting it. It is useful for me because the tour operators are not only spending time in the Costa del Sol, some of them are also taking the opportunity to do a fam trip to Cadiz. Having the chance to bring the tour operators to the area is priceless. We are trying to extend the high season for general tourism. Golf is important because it is year-round. Last year we produced a marketing plan to develop golf tourism in the province. I think golf tourism is coming back.”



David Pedreno Weber, Sales Department, Almenara Golf Resort: “For us this is a fantastic event and the meetings were excellent. We had the opportunity to talk directly with the tour operators and for contracting for the next year this event has been fantastic. We are very happy to be part of it. There are new operators from countries we have not worked with before: Hungary, the Czech Republic and the USA, so hopefully that will mean we will get some new business.”

Ignacio Hidalgo, Commercial, Director, Almerimar Resort: “We are in Almeria, which should be better known by golfers. In the past few years we have seen more interest in our area. Tour operators want to develop new product and places, and the Costa Almeria is one of them. I found the Andalucía Golf Trophy very useful. The appointment system is great; you get to see new people and many people we already work with, and you see them all in one day. I have met five new tour operators I wanted to see. I hope to get new business from this and reinforce the business we already have with the tour operators we work with all year round.”



Isabella Rio Arroyo, Director of Sales, La Quinta Golf & Country Club: “I think it was a great opportunity to meet tour operators. I think the organisation is very good and the place is fantastic. We work with all the tour operators so it was a good opportunity to negotiate and make some business for next year. We have new owners since November. In a few weeks we will be announcing who will be managing the hotel in the future. The new owners are in conversation with several brands. The hotel, clubhouse and course will all be renovated in the next two years. We have 27 holes but we will always have 18 holes open while the work is going on.”



Andreas Hagemann, Director of Golf Sales and Marketing, Villa Padierna: “We have been trying to get this event here with Marco Polacci for the past two years and we are very happy to be able to host it. The results have been great. I have had a full calendar of appointments and I think I have met everybody. From the meetings we have had we will open about 50% new accounts or expanding business we do with operators from just offering golf to offering the hotel and golf. It is great that the tour operators have been able to experience and stay in the hotel. A new market for us is Argentina; we met a tour operator from there and lots from the UK and Germany, as well as others from Morocco, Denmark, Italy, the USA and other countries. We are very happy with the turn out and I know the owner is very happy with it. Our new golf academy has been unofficially open for a year but the complete opening with the fitting centre will be in the next few months. It is called the Michael Campbell Villa Padierna Golf Academy. Michael won the US Open in 2005 and lives locally. He is our brand ambassador. He was very happy to be involved with the Andalucía Golf Trophy and it was great that everybody got to play a hole with him.”



Lynn Mitchell, Business Development Director, Costa del Sol Tourist Office: “Besides meeting operators from our consolidated markets, I have also met new partners from emerging markets. I had interesting meetings with operators from Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Asia and the USA. So it has been a completely different focus with them. The value of face-to-face meetings is incredible because the Costa del Sol has so much more to offer. There has been a lot of positive feedback. Tour operators are gung-ho and are increasing the volume of their business. They are getting much more open to introducing new and more varied types of product, and so are adding value to the traditional golf, hotel and transfer product. It is very encouraging because our region is so much more than just the golf. In our consolidated markets, the operators have very good knowledge of the golf offering. Where we have complemented that is by highlighting what we consider opportunities for developing it with greater added value. The Costa del Sol has the capacity to continue surprising people. Sometimes we just have to encourage the tour operators to think outside the box.“


Source:- IAGTO


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