According to estimations by Travel Weekly, 25% of the world’s travel market could belong to sustainable tourism, which underlines the importance of eco and ethical tourism for the tourism industry. Countries such as Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Morocco are highly depend on the tourism industry, which is one of the few economic sectors that are growing despite the economic crisis. Based on a recent study, conducted by Between-us, on the importance of sustainability to golfers, 95% wants greater sustainability in golf venues and 52% is willing to pay for it. These examples show that positive environmental and social actions are directly relevant to a growing number of consumers.
In their partnership, IAGTO and GEO aim to create more awareness for sustainable golf and bring new value to golf resorts and golf destinations. This is done by creating awareness for GEO’s certification programmes, which leads to business benefits for golf properties, and through joint marketing efforts to promote sustainable golf.
At the International Golf Travel Market in the Algarve, IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said:
“IAGTO's global membership of over 2000 companies currently includes 725 golf resorts and golf facilities in 55 countries. IAGTO members take their environmental and social responsibility seriously and many are keen to advance further and more strongly promote their commitments and achievements. In parallel, many governments and tourism agencies are eager to integrate sustainability into their forward strategic planning and development policies.
“By connecting with GEO, we can add more value to our members and partners, promoting practical and relevant international guidelines for golf development and management; streamlined and easy-to-use business support programmes; and new communications channels to give messages more reach.
“Sustainable golf is a vital focus area for the future, and GEO is the only group entirely dedicated to helping the industry represent and improve their actions, bringing industry-leading experience, connections, tailor-made programmes and the ecolabel for golf.”
Jonathan Smith, GEO Chief Executive contributed:
“We are excited by the prospect of working with IAGTO to connect more people with sustainable golf facilities, and to help unlock the real business benefits that embracing sustainability can bring.
“Sustainability is becoming business as usual for golf – increasingly integrated across everyday operations to realize costs savings, golf course enhancements, publicity and brand value, and opening up new commercial avenues in B2B and sponsorship.
“GEO provides the golf industry with practical programmes to make these benefits easier to attain. And the GEO Certified™ ecolabel is the mark to publicly and credibly represent commitment and results.
“With golf’s close connection to people and planet, leaders in the industry have the clear opportunity to step forward and position strongly with innovative, ethical, environmental and profitable businesses.”