Catalonia cemented its status as one of Europe's most exciting emerging golf destinations by playing host to one of the world's most successful golf tourism events.
The International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) attracted more than 1400 delegates to the PortAventura Convention Centre in Costa Daurada last month, the largest ever turnout in the event's 16-year history.
Catalonia staged the event as part of its campaign celebrating 100 Years of Great Golf which was devised by the Catalan Tourist Board (CTB) to promote the country as a leading golf destination.
With delegates attending IGTM from all over the world and experiencing the golf and leisure offering of Costa Daurada as well as sampling the local cuisine, culture and nightlife, the event proved hugely successful.
Xavier Espasa Añoveros, General Manager of the Catalan Tourist Board, said, "We are delighted to have hosted such a successful IGTM. It gave us a tremendous platform to promote Catalonia as a truly exciting golf destination. Our aim was to ensure that the many representatives of the golf industry from all over the world who attended the event went away with wonderful impressions of what Catalonia has to offer and that has been achieved.
"Our next objective is to build on this success and use next year's centenary of the first golf course opening in Catalonia to highlight our pedigree as one of the world's finest golfing destinations."
Peter Walton, the Chief Executive of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO, said, "We would like to congratulate Catalonia on hosting a truly fantastic IGTM. We are fortunate to visit many of the world's best golf destinations but it is always exciting to go to emerging golf destinations. Catalonia certainly fits into that category. It has some world class courses, hotels and restaurants alongside the rich culture of cities such as Barcelona and Girona. I know our delegates were as impressed as we were with the warm Catalan welcome they received."
IGTM brings together hundreds of tour operators and key influencers from throughout the international golf travel industry. CTB representatives held 25 formal meetings with companies from 11 different countries throughout the week and many more informal discussions. The agency is confident this will generate business worth hundreds of thousands of euros next year for Catalan golf venues and accommodation providers.
The 100 Years of Great Golf Campaign will continue in 2014 and will utilise a suite of online and print marketing materials to highlight key messages about the quality and range of golf courses and facilities available in Catalonia.
For more information about golf in Catalonia visit www.catalunya.com.
For media and trade enquiries please contact:
Golf Communications International
Tel: +44 7534 71 61 63
Catalan Tourist Board
Catalan Tourist Board is an organisation of the Government of Catalonia responsible for marketing and promoting Catalonia as an attractive tourism destination. Catalan Tourist Board provides support to the travel industry and identifies and develops opportunities within all the foreign markets in close co-operation with the Catalan travel industry.
Renowned for its stunning architecture, mouthwatering local cuisine and vibrant culture, Catalonia enjoys a rich history in golf dating back to 1914 when a group of Britons who were building the railway line between Barcelona and present-day Metro del Vallès, created the Sant Cugat del Vallès golf course. It was the first course in Catalonia and one of the first in Spain.
With the beautiful city of Barcelona at its heart, Catalonia's four provinces of Barcelona, Lleida, Girona and Tarragona are as diverse as they are enchanting and have a great deal to offer golfers. There are 38 golf courses in total catering for a range of abilities from European Tour venues to family-friendly nine-hole courses.
Arguably the best known course is the PGA Catalunya Resort, whose Stadium Course was selected in 2012 as the best in Spain and the third best in Continental Europe by the prestigious Top 100 Golf Courses panel. Catalonia has a host of other renowned courses such as the Real Club de Golf El Prat, the Real Club de Golf Cerdanya, the Llevaneras Golf Club, the Pals Golf Club, the Costa Brava Golf Club and the Lumine Golf Club.
Among the Tour events to have been held on Catalan courses are the Spanish Open, which is one of the oldest in Europe, the Catalonia Open, the Sanyo Open, the Sarazen Open and the Johnnie Walker Trophy. The destination has also played host to the European Tour Qualifying School tournament and the Catalonia Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour.
One of the inspirations behind the growth of golf in Catalonia was the legendary Seve Ballesteros who won three Open Championships, the Masters Tournament on two occasions and led the European Ryder Cup team to victory on Spanish soil in 1997. Seve was a frequent visitor to Catalonia to follow his beloved FC Barcelona.