Top International Golf Destinations Named at 18th Annual Awards

The Sandhills region of North Carolina is a magical place to play golf (Photo: Scott MacLeod)

North Carolina, The Bahamas, Dubai, New Zealand, Spain’s Costa Blanca region and Flanders in Belgium have all been honoured in the 2018 IAGTO Awards, the golf tourism industry’s annual marque of excellence.

In addition, the Awards – organised by global golf tourism trade organisation IAGTO – lauded three golf resorts: Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus, South Africa’s Fancourt and California’s Pebble Beach Resorts.

The winners were announced during the Opening Address of the 20th International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France, in front of an audience of 1,300 international golf tourism delegates.

IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “For 18 years now we have been recognising a handful of golf courses, golf resorts and golf destinations each year that have excelled in their efforts to deliver the best possible experience to the visiting golf traveller.

“Our 680 golf tour operator members in 65 countries are now responsible for close to 90% of all international golf vacation packages sold worldwide, and it is their votes that determine who receives this annual accolade among golf destinations and golf resorts across the globe, which is why the Awards are so well respected.

“The International Golf Travel Writers Association (IGTWA) was established in the same year as the inaugural IAGTO Awards, and their 220 journalists who are at the forefront of bringing new golf experiences to the attention of golf travellers around the globe, are responsible for selecting the Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year which is always one of the highlights for me.

“Having only nine golf destination and resort awards up for grabs each year makes each Awards ceremony incredibly special as well as intense! I am pleased that even after 18 years, the eager anticipation of the announcement of the winners is just as acute as it was when we started, and for the winners it beckons a year of deserved recognition and celebration.”

The 2018 IAGTO Sustainability Awards, which are run in conjunction with GEO (Golf Environment Organization), were also announced at IGTM.

2018 IAGTO Awards winners
Golf Destination of the Year – North America: North Carolina
Golf Destination of the Year – Latin America & Caribbean: The Bahamas
Golf Destination of the Year – Africa, the Gulf States & Indian Ocean: Dubai
Golf Destination of the Year – Europe: Costa Blanca, Spain
Golf Destination of the Year – Asia & Australasia: New Zealand
European Golf Resort of the Year: Aphrodite Hills, Cyprus
North American Golf Resort of the Year: Pebble Beach Resorts, USA
Golf Resort of the Year – Rest of the World: Fancourt, South Africa
Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year: Flanders, Belgium

2018 IAGTO Sustainability Awards winners – Sponsored by Textron Golf
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year for Nature Protection: Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, Costa Rica
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year for Community Value: Golf della Montecchia, Italy
Sustainable Golf Course of the Year for Resource Efficiency: Finca Cortesin, Spain