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New Opportunities for Sustainable Golf Tourism

Strategic partnership between GEO and IAGTO announced
At the latest International Golf Travel Market in the Portuguese Algarve region, a strategic partnership was announced between the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) and the Global Organization for Golf Tourism (IAGTO). The goal of the partnership is to support and promote sustainability in golf tourism around the world.


According to estimations by Travel Weekly, 25% of the world’s travel market could belong to sustainable tourism, which underlines the importance of eco and ethical tourism for the tourism industry. Countries such as Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Morocco are highly depend on the tourism industry, which is one of the few economic sectors that are growing despite the economic crisis. Based on a recent study, conducted by Between-us, on the importance of sustainability to golfers, 95% wants greater sustainability in golf venues and 52% is willing to pay for it. These examples show that positive environmental and social actions are directly relevant to a growing number of consumers.  

In their partnership, IAGTO and GEO aim to create more awareness for sustainable golf and bring new value to golf resorts and golf destinations. This is done by creating awareness for GEO’s certification programmes, which leads to business benefits for golf properties, and through joint marketing efforts to promote sustainable golf. 
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 contributed:
“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.”

Results Golfers Survey announced

Golfers appreciate a more sustainable golf course
During the summer of 2012, a questionnaire was distributed amongst golfers from across the globe. The objective of the survey was to identify drivers and the level of willingness of golfers to contribute to a more sustainable golf course. The main research conclusions were:

Golfing destination Catalunya: Sustainability holds positive business case for top courses

Results released of sustainability research with five Catalan top golf venues
In Barcelona, International CSR consultancy and initiator of the Sustainable Golf Project, Between-us, revealed the results of the research project on sustainability with five Catalan courses. The courses were benchmarked on people, planet, profit issues according to the benchmark methodology of the Sustainable Golf Project. The study revealed that although the Catalan courses consume less water than the sector average, they can save significant amounts. Based upon consumer pricing this can add up to €900.000,- per year on eco-efficiencies such as water- and energy use.

PGA of America and PGA Village receive sustainable certification

Audubon Sustainable Golf Facility Program helps golf courses become more sustainable
Founded in 1916, the PGA of America is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and is made up of more than 28,000 men and women golf professional members. As “the experts in the game and business of golf,” the PGA of America’s undertaking has been to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.

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