IAGTO, the Global Organization for Golf Tourism and the Golf Environment Organization (GEO), the international non-profit dedicated to sustainable golf, have announced a new partnership, working closely to support and promote sustainability in golf tourism around the world.
Eco and ethical tourism is growing as a percentage of the overall tourism industry leading Travel Weekly to project that by this year 25% of the world's travel market could belong to sustainable tourism. This means positive environmental and social actions are directly relevant to a growing number of consumers…and a good fit for golf which is at its best when integrated with landscape, community and culture.
By working together, IAGTO and GEO aim to bring new value to the most active resorts and destinations, helping them connect their sustainable product supply with growing awareness and demand.
Speaking during his opening address at the International Golf Travel Market in the Algarve, IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said:
"IAGTO's global membership of over 2000 companies currently includes 725 golf resorts and golf facilities in 55 countries. IAGTO members take their environmental and social responsibility seriously and many are keen to advance further and more strongly promote their commitments and achievements. In parallel, many governments and tourism agencies are eager to integrate sustainability into their forward strategic planning and development policies.
"By connecting with GEO, we can add more value to our members and partners, promoting practical and relevant international guidelines for golf development and management; streamlined and easy-to-use business support programmes; and new communications channels to give messages more reach.
"Sustainable golf is a vital focus area for the future, and GEO is the only group entirely dedicated to helping the industry represent and improve their actions, bringing industry-leading experience, connections, tailor-made programmes and the ecolabel for golf."
Jonathan Smith, GEO Chief Executive was also in Portugal, adding:
"We are excited by the prospect of working with IAGTO to connect more people with sustainable golf facilities, and to help unlock the real business benefits that embracing sustainability can bring.
"Sustainability is becoming business as usual for golf - increasingly integrated across everyday operations to realize costs savings, golf course enhancements, publicity and brand value, and opening up new commercial avenues in B2B and sponsorship.
"GEO provides the golf industry with practical programmes to make these benefits easier to attain. And the GEO Certified™ ecolabel is the mark to publicly and credibly represent commitment and results.
"With golf's close connection to people and planet, leaders in the industry have the clear opportunity to step forward and position strongly with innovative, ethical, environmental and profitable businesses."
About the partnership
IAGTO and GEO will work in the following areas to integrate sustainability into golf tourism:
• Strategic planning, including guidance and advice to governments;
• Raising awareness of the GEO Certified ecolabel as a credible way to recognize sustainability in golf management, new development, and renovations;
• Supporting IAGTO member facilities and resorts by promoting the guidance and programming designed to help them achieve a range of business benefits, and which lead to the GEO Certified ecolabel;
• Marketing and communications highlighting sustainability leadership.