“This is a great result and fantastic recognition of the work the industry and Tourism New Zealand have done to showcase the country’s world class golf offering,” says Tourism Chief Executive Stephen England-Hall.
“An award like this gives New Zealand incredible international exposure as a must visit golfing destination.”
The award is given to the country that has delivered a great experience for golf travellers and is voted on by golf tour operators across the globe.
“It’s a remarkable result considering New Zealand is up against well-established golfing destinations like Thailand, Australia and Vietnam.”
Peter Walton, IAGTO Chief Executive says: "This award signifies that golf tour operators the world over have recognised New Zealand as an established golf destination that consistently delivers a tremendous experience for golf travellers.
New Zealand's transition from a 'hidden gem' to a much sought after golf destination is the combined work of the private and public sectors, which have pooled their resources and experience to position New Zealand to attract ever- larger numbers of high-spending golf visitors.
The golf courses are working together to present themselves as clusters and trails and Tourism New Zealand has done a tremendous job of promoting this internationally. And the proof is in the numbers, with golf tourism to New Zealand rising rapidly over the past couple of years, as more and more golfers seek the spectacular and unique."
New Zealand hosted three major international golf events in 2017, the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open, the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women's Open and most recently the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship.
Stephen England-Hall adds “Tourism New Zealand took full advantage of the events, running strategic marketing campaigns to maximise international exposure before and after the events.”
International golfers deliver millions to the economy each year, staying significantly longer and spending more than the average visitor.
New Zealand has around 400 golf courses and offers incredible variety, from ocean front subtropical courses in the north to alpine settings in the south. Golf tourism to New Zealand is seeing significant growth that is among one of the highest being experienced worldwide. New Zealand was named Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year in the 2002 IAGTO Awards and Golf Destination of the Year for Asia and Australasia for 2009.
The IAGTO Awards, held annually by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators since 2000, showcase the best golf destinations and resorts as voted for by the world’s golf tour operators and golf travel writers. The award was announced at the International Golf Travel Market in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France, in front of an audience of 1300 international golf tourism delegates. IAGTO is the global trade organisation for the golf tourism industry, comprising over 2220 accredited golf tour operators, golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, receptive operators, airlines, tourist boards, approved media and business partners in 98 countries. IAGTO operators control over 85% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide and their combined annual turnover exceeded €1.5 billion last year.