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Costa Navarino partners with European Tour Destinations to elevate global reach

13th September 2022
Costa Navarino, Europe’s newest golf destination, has become the latest venue to join the European Tour Destinations network. Located across the Messinian coastline in Greece and created following the principles of sustainable development, Costa Navarino features four signature golf courses including two new José María Olazábal designs at Navarino Hills, which opened in February this year. Olazabal’s creations include the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course and the neighbouring Hills Course, which complement the well-established Dunes and Bay Course layouts designed by Bernhard Langer with EGD and Robert Trent Jones Jr respectively. Golfing guests currently have a choice of three five-star hotels – The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, The Westin Resort Costa Navarino and the newly-opened W Costa Navarino – while the destination will add to its luxury accommodation next year with the unveiling of the first Mandarin Oriental hotel in Greece. Ian Knox, Head of European Tour Destinations, added: “Having been recognized as a leading example of sustainable tourism, Costa Navarino is undeniably a sought-after, eco-friendly destination in the heart of the Mediterranean – and one we look forward to be working with.” Nuno Sepulveda, General Manager at Costa Navarino Golf, said: “We are thrilled with the positive response from our international markets to the golf destination we are creating, and we aim to continue upgrading the golf and hospitality experience we offer to our guests. We are positive that by joining European Tour Destinations’ established network, we will amplify our story globally.” A short and scenic drive from Kalamata International Airport, Costa Navarino showcases an abundance of leisure, cultural and wellness activities, as well as dining and authentic local experiences. The destination is developed with respect to the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Costa Navarino is now becoming known also as a place to live. It features a collection of luxury villas for private ownership developed across distinct neighbourhoods, as well as “The Residences at The Westin Resort Costa Navarino”, a number of fully furnished resort apartments.

New real estate strategy sparks sales surge at Pirin Golf & Country Club

17th August 2022
With global forces impacting the availability of building materials, labour and energy, Pirin Golf & Country Club, in Bulgaria, has employed the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) to expand its real estate portfolio. A move which is proving hugely popular with buyers and investors, as Owner and CEO, Ina Kanazireva explains… A combination of post-pandemic uncertainty, unease in the East and increasing inflation has made obtaining raw building materials a difficult process.  The availability of bricks, concrete, roof tiles, paints and electrical products have all been affected, resulting in longer build lead times, especially for European markets heavily reliant on the Far East for their materials. Surging energy costs and a shrinking skilled labour pool are compounding the challenges. However as other resorts struggle to revise their master plan, Pirin Golf & Country Club, in Bulgaria, is sidestepping supply issues with the help of modern methods of construction (MMC), as Owner and CEO, Ina Kanazireva, explains: “We found that our MMC approach, which we’d adopted way before the pandemic, bucks these shortage trends and meets the increasing demand for new properties.” Modern methods of construction (MMC) is the umbrella term applied to different types of construction involving significant portions or all of the building being manufactured in a factory setting and joined together on-site. Benefits of such a method include: Less material waste – and therefore more efficient use of stock More sustainable and better-quality housing Improved lead times – it is estimated construction time is reduced by 20-60% [1] “Initially, we didn’t build using modular techniques but when an investor approached us with a request for 20 houses, we realised we needed a quick and efficient way to deliver such a project,” added Ina Kanazireva, explaining that lead times for MMC project completions at Pirin Golf & Country Club can range from six months to a year, depending on a client’s needs. “We also needed a quieter and less intrusive method of building, as we didn’t want to inconvenience our members and golf clientele, and of course one that met the same industry regulations.” MMC builds are growing in popularity as lenders realise it meets the same regulations, codes and guidelines as traditionally built homes and therefore are more readily providing finance for such projects. “People were sure bricks were better insulators and thicker, but it turned out this wasn’t the case. We learned plasterboard was more efficient, it’s quieter, and it brings the same qualities,” continued Ina Kanazireva. “Modular building has also enabled us to continue building throughout the winter, when we didn’t want heavy construction materials on site.”  Demand for Pirin Golf & Country Club’s pre-fabricated, modular-built wooden constructions is strong. The Bulgarian resort two hours south of capital Sofia is currently building 17 more Chalets, adding to the 24 units that were sold in just the last 12 months. The level of interest has spurred on the development of much larger Eco Chalets that will be built solely from locally-sourced materials, underlining the resort’s commitment to a more sustainable

Being part of the solution to plastic pollution in the ocean

17th August 2022
As global movements help to highlight the growing problem of plastics in the world’s oceans, resorts – including Constance Lemuria in The Seychelles – are also stepping up and taking action. Sustainability Manager, Mersiah Rose, says a number of proactive measures to reduce plastic use at the island resort have been taken, including eradicating single-use plastic bottles in favour of refillable drinking water bottles.  Now, they are ramping up their conservation efforts by engaging their guests and generating greater awareness. “When we say zero plastic, what do we mean? We mean the reduction of plastic in the country itself, but also we want guests to carry that back with them to their countries. “Increasingly, small islands are suffering with plastic and marine pollution – this is our chance to strike a spark in our guests so that when they go back to their own country they remember the small islands that need their help to reduce plastic. “It’s not just for the island or for the country, it’s for the whole planet.”  Some facts to consider: Around 380 million metric tons of plastic are being produced yearly [1] Approximately 91% of plastic is not recycled [2] About 1.2 million plastic bottles are being used per minute[3] Also affected by plastic pollution are the ocean’s inhabitants.  Constance Lemuria’s Turtle Manager monitors the island’s endangered hawksbill and green turtle populations that return to the quiet beaches on Praslin to lay their eggs. Every year, between October and February, resort guests have the unique opportunity to watch the female turtles come up onto the beach to lay their eggs and later see the baby turtles hatch and move down to the sea. “This is a special moment for our guests, they get to see such a beautiful thing which gives them a feeling that we are really doing something for our island and conservation,” added Mersiah Rose. Watch Mersiah Rose’s interview in full and discover how European Tour Destinations venues are leading the way on sustainability in this new feature, ‘A sustainable future for golf’

Turning followers into fans

17th August 2022
The DP World Tour’s cutting-edge content is now amassing over 2 billion impressions each year across social media.  Head of Content at The Tour, Will Pearson, outlines why creating a two-way conversation with followers has been pivotal to the tour’s continued growth, and how resorts can emulate its success as they look to build their customer base.

Big green money, big green priorities

17th August 2022
Over €25trillion is now being put into environmentally responsible investments as concerns about climate change impact grows among high-net worth individuals.  As resorts and developments strive to play their part in the move towards net-zero, how are appealing to their customers’ increasingly green senses? Principal at Global Design Firm HKS and recent speaker at the European Tour Destinations Conference, Ben Martin, explains.

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.
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