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North America Golf Tourism Convention strengthens golf travel recovery

1st July 2022
European Tour Destinations took the opportunity to reconnect with key commercial partners and drive business from across the Americas at the North America Golf Tourism Convention (NAC). The first staging of the event since before the pandemic saw 186 tour operators, golf courses, hotels, tourist boards and golf tourism suppliers from 25 countries come together in Reno, Nevada, for an important two days of meetings as golf businesses plan for 2023 and beyond. Among attendees from European Tour Destinations were PGA Catalunya Golf and Wellness, Quinta do Lago, Le Golf National and recent addition to the network, La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort. Head of European Tour Destinations, Ian Knox, who attended, said: “The NAC is an important opportunity for our venues to connect with partners across the Americas, even more so this year having experienced a two-year hiatus. “There are clear indications of pent-up appetite for golf tourism and our venues, who are already welcoming clients from across the region, now stand to increase those numbers as the recovery continues.” Ana Berbel Rendon, Commercial and Marketing Director at La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort, attended the event for the first time, and was encouraged by business across the two days. “As we are about to unveil our new links course, this was a prime opportunity to raise awareness and excitement about this new and unique product offering,” she said. “The strength of association with European Tour Destinations was also evident. Tour operators have immediate confidence in the quality of the experience we can offer to their clients and this is helping us access new countries and new markets,” she added. NAC 2023 will take place at Saddlebrook Resort, Tampa, Florida, 20-22 June.

Property portals explained

1st July 2022
As society has evolved through the digital era, so have our habits when it comes to buying and selling properties. In the last decade, the emergence of property portals – websites specifically developed to engage those on both sides of the property market – has led to a shift in trends for how properties are marketed online. Their ease of use, according to our resident property expert Sandra Ruttle, is a big draw and can lead to substantial gains. She said: “They are very user-friendly; they allow you to filter down to the property type that you are looking for, before contacting the real estate agent to organise a viewing of the property – all in the space of a click of a few buttons. “Some of our partners are saying that 60% of their property leads are now coming through property portals, so – coupled with their easy-to-use nature – they are a big space that you need to occupy for selling or letting properties.” Over time property portals have become more refined – one of the latest developments in particular, premium listings, is a feature that can enhance the ability to sell a real estate by up to 30%. “Of course, this will attract an additional fee, but if a premium listing can give an advantage in the market over your competitor of that size, then it’s a valuable investment that is well worth making,” added Sandra. One region where property portals are growing in influence is Continental Europe. Bruce Hawker, Director at Fine & Country Algarve, said a significant proportion of their leads are through property portals and that this has helped them to “diversify our marketing to reach new markets”. He said: “We have sold to buyers from over 30 different countries over the last three years and the portals are largely responsible for this. “There are only benefits as far as we see it. And they will become more influential – as technology continues to improve, they can only get better. But great care is needed – we are constantly monitoring our responses on all of the portals to establish the cost and the quality of leads from each one.” Conversion rates, from lead to sale, are not as strong through property portals (around 1 in 40) compared to ‘walk-ins’ (less than 1 in 10). However, when used in the right way, portals can be a main – or even a sole – source of business. Bruce added: “A really important consideration is the quality of presentation. So having things like videos on each of listing and virtual tours make listing rank higher on most portals. Having an office in a great location pays dividends when it comes to walk-ins, but in this day and age, it is quite possible for an agent to rely only on the portals, if they have the right product to sell.”

New links course set to be unveiled in Southern Spain

1st July 2022
One of the newest additions to the European Tour Destinations, La Hacienda Alcaidesa, reveals more on the imminent opening of its newly redesigned links course along the coastline of Southern Spain, part of its ambitious investment plans to elevate the resort to new heights.

Why golf tourism must embrace environmental sustainability or face an uncertain future

21st June 2022
With tourists increasingly selecting holidays based on sustainability factors – 82% according to Google data last year – golf venues need to show how they are putting the environment front and centre of their plans. Recent research released from Booking.com suggests the pandemic has been the tipping point for travellers to commit to their own sustainable journey, which in turn is putting added pressure on the golf industry to step up its role in the fight for the planet’s future. Ian Knox, Head of European Tour Destinations, a network of world-class golf venues spanning 19 countries and three continents, each assessing their own role in climate action, said: “The pressing need for a more sustainable outlook is clearer than ever. We saw this at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland last year, when golf was given a global platform to speak. “Our destinations have long been committed to putting nature first and implementing measurable actions – initiatives that have become increasingly critical given the growing importance sustainability is now playing when making travel choices, and especially with a reported 41% willing to pay a premium for sustainably sourced products and services.” European Tour Destinations venues focusing their efforts on exploring pathways to net-zero have been highlighted in a new feature, A sustainable future for golf, and include: Son Muntaner, Mallorca – dedicated to reducing its water usage and efficiently managing recycled water Constance Lemuria, Seychelles – committed to tackling plastic pollution with refillable bottles and safeguarding endemic species Estonian Golf and Country Club, Estonia – demonstrating its sustainability actions via GEO Certification, the international eco-label The feature also includes insights from the European Tour Group on how it’s monitoring its impact and ultimately taking action in reducing the DP World Tour’s carbon footprint, which is of huge importance to the future of the planet and the golf industry. “Addressing ESG (environment, social and governance) criteria within corporate strategy is also proving decisive, and something we work closely with our network venues on,” Ian Knox continued. “With a recent report stating 64% of millennials would turn down a job that didn’t adhere to ESG practices, our support and the sharing of best practices among our venues is proving vital. “Now, more so than ever, golf needs to demonstrate environmentally sustainable initiatives, golf venues need to validate their credentials and the industry as a whole needs to take action with business strategies focusing on people, planet and profit.” For more information about European Tour Destinations, visit: www.europeantourdestinations.com

Le Touquet Golf Resort looks to widen international appeal by joining European Tour Destinations

18th May 2022
Le Touquet Golf Resort, home of France’s #1 links course and a member of Resonance Golf Collection, has become the latest venue to join the European Tour Destinations network. Following a multi-million euro transformation in recent years, Le Touquet Golf Resort and its three courses are ushering in a new golden age of European golf travel, featuring contemporary comforts and a boutique style hotel. A century after Le Touquet was Europe’s most fashionable resort in the ‘Roaring Twenties’, the chic French hospitality and sandy beaches are once again set to become the envy of golfers worldwide.  “We are a very well-known and established golf resort in Northern France, especially among British and Belgian golfers,” said Charles Debruyne, Golf Club Manager at Le Touquet Golf Resort. “Our ambition is to build on this and attract an increasingly more international clientele.” Laurent Boissonnas, Managing Director of Resonance Golf Collection, commented: “European Tour Destinations is a stamp of tournament quality and we believe being part of the network will help create a step-change in our business, allowing us to tap into industry best practices, a wealth and breadth of expert knowledge, as well as the opportunity to learn from like-minded individuals.” “It’s an exciting time for golf tourism and the industry as a whole,” added Ian Knox, Head of Operations at European Tour Destinations. “It’s only fitting a venue of the calibre of Le Touquet Golf Resort is poised to take advantage of the global travel industry’s rebound, and we’re looking forward to working closely with them on attracting a more international clientele.” Only an hour’s drive from the Eurotunnel’s Calais Terminus along the A16, Le Touquet Golf Resort is an easily accessible destination for golfers from the UK, Belgium and The Netherlands, as well as international visitors flying into Paris with Charles de Gaulle Airport two hours away.  With its critically-acclaimed La Mer course receiving industry-wide praise for its recent restoration – which included the recovery of four Harry Colt and Charles ‘Hugh’ Alison original holes lost to the dunes during World War II that earned it a #22 spot on the influential Golf World Top 100 Golf Courses of Continental Europe ranking in 2021 – Le Touquet Golf Resort provides 45 holes of outstanding golf surrounded by a natural landscape of sand dunes, pine forests and big skies.  Its transformation has also included the building of a stunning contemporary clubhouse, designed taking inspiration from the vast beaches and dunes which characterise France’s north-eastern coast, and the complete refurbishment of Le Manoir Hôtel into a modern boutique establishment with 41 individually styled rooms, suites and bungalows. 

European Tour Destinations Conference primes network for tourism rebound

18th May 2022
Venues gathered in the heart of the Provence Cote d’Azur region at award-winning resort Terre Blanche, to meet, learn and share best practice in what was the first in-person meeting between venues in over two years. Tourism and sustainability were among the key topics featured at the recent European Tour Destinations Annual Conference, as its network of world class golf venues prepare for an influx of customers this coming year. Joining established Destinations from across Europe and the Middle East were new venues La Hacienda Alcaidesa Links Golf Resort, Spain and Le Touquet Golf Resort, in Northern France. Across the two days, venues were joined by leading experts from the European Tour Group, including Head of Content, Will Pearson and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Maria Grandinetti-Milton, who shared key insights on innovative content and sustainability respectively. Ben Martin, Principal at global architecture firm HKS, and Emmanuel Duval from French tourism agency Atout France also joined the lineup of speakers to present global market trends from across the world of tourism and real estate. Ian Knox, Head of European Tour Destinations, said: “As the global travel industry rebounds, the European Tour Destinations Annual Conference is a fitting time for our venues to come together and develop ways to enhance their products and services.” According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), booking data indicates travel across Europe is set to increase by 80% compared to 2021. “In addition to the conference sessions and networking opportunities, our host venue Terre Blanche provides a world class example our other venues can learn and benefit from,” added Ian Knox.

Golfers eye early Ryder Cup experience

23rd November 2021
Following the latest staging of The Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, global media attention now switches to the next host – Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. General Manager, Riccardo Tirotti, tells us how excitement is building with less than two years to go, and how the media interest is already attracting waves of customers to the stunning resort.

Younger, bolder buyers

23rd November 2021
Resorts across the portfolio of European Tour Destinations have reported a younger profile of property buyers.Real Estate Consultant, Sandra Ruttle, explains what these buyers are looking for and how they are much more likely to act fast to secure their home away from home.
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