The Costa del Sol has been named as the best European golf destination by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO). The association involves 2,716 golf tour operators who control more than 87 per cent of golf holiday packages sold around the world and who invoice more than €2,100 million euros a year… golf resorts, hotels, golf courses, source market operators, airlines, tourism offices and business partners in a total of 105 countries.

The president of Costa del Sol Tourist Board, Elías Bendodo, has expressed his gratitude for the award, granted by the most important companies in the international tourist industry, declaring it "an honour for us to receive an award of such magnitude from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators”.
The recognition of the Costa del Sol as the best European golf destination of the year "reaffirms our leadership, both nationally and internationally, endorsed by a range of more than 70 courses, almost 70% of those that exist in Andalusia", said Bendodo. “As a segment which has a direct and indirect economic impact of 1.400 million euros, Costa del Sol Tourist Board has considered golf a priority for several years, given our strategic approach to the management of seasonality. And now, thanks to this award, both the organisation, and the destination, have received a huge incentive to continue along these lines. At Costa del Sol Tourist Board we will continue to work, alongside our valued partners and industry members, to maximise the golfers’ experience, thanks to the quality and quantity of our golf courses and resorts, together with excellent air connectivity, transport and hotel infrastructure and, of course, the multitude of leisure and entertainment services offered by the destination”, added the president of the Tourist Board.

This recognition carries important weight within the tourism panorama, bearing in mind that those charged with bestowing it are the tour operators themselves, those with long-standing professional backgrounds and a vital knowledge of the sector and of the Costa del Sol’s rival destinations.

The award was announced during the a gala dinner ceremony attended by more than 600 delegates and organised by the IAGTO within the framework of the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), an exhibition founded by the association which this year was held from 15 to 18 October in Slovenia and where the Costa del Sol was present exhibiting its golf segment amenities and attractions.

Each year during the ceremony the association rewards the outstanding achievements of many emerging golf destinations and individual golf resorts, thus promoting the fulfilment of its primary objective: to raise industry-wide standards in the segment and help destinations position themselves better, not only to attract more business but also to ensure the best possible experiences for visiting golf travellers.

According to the founder and executive director of the association, Peter Walton, the IAGTO strives to provide information and create opportunities that help its members develop their business faster, with less effort and lower costs.

For the Costa del Sol, the award was the icing on the cake of its participation at the IGTM, one of the most highly recognised events in the golf sector, bringing together a total of 1,300 professionals in the golf travel industry from more than 65 countries each year. including 500 tourism providers in the sector, more than 400 golf tour operators collectively controlling 80 per cent of the world market in this tourism segment - plus around 100 international journalists.

During the fair, Tourism Costa del Sol promoted the destination in international markets through various activities and networking days, developing face-to-face meetings with key international tour operators attending the fair.

The organisation also organised “A Night with Costa del Sol Friends” on 14 October, a cocktail reception dinner at the Hotel Intercontinental in Ljubljana that brought together representatives of the Costa del Sol golf tourism sector attending the fair as well as major international operators. 

This included a presentation of the participating companies, with a space provided for networking and developing future business and a flamenco music and dance show. The Costa del Sol intensified its promotion at the fair thanks to different branding actions at various stands and through the IAGTO.