IGTM 2018: Can Slovenia become a true golf destination?

By: October 24, 2018

Many Eastern European countries are asking themselves how could they become a golf tourism destination and to be seen on the global golf tourism map.

Last year when I was not able to arrive at the IGTM 2017 in Cannes (due to the heavy winds in Nice), I saw that some Eastern European countries made their first steps toward to reach the above-mentioned goals by having their own booths (e.g. Bulgaria, Czech Republic).

KPMG’ Golf Participation Report in 2017 found that Slovenia has got 8762 registered golfers. The total population of Slovenia is 2,081,657.

Today we can find 16 golf courses (7 of them are only 9-hole courses) in Slovenia where the oldest one, the Royal Bled was founded in 1937.

Slovenia went through a quite long road to becoming the host of the IGTM (International Golf Travel Market) 2018. In 2015, they won the ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year‘ title of the IAGTO Awards.

It seems to me they realized very well that their country is really small and they need a regional cooperation. This is why we can find among the official partners of IGTM 2018, the Austrian Carinthia (Kärnten Alpe Adria Golf, ‘Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year 2017 at IAGTO Awards).

I think small golf countries like Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria etc. should try to find a solution to help each other otherwise it will be hard for them to attract a significant number of international golf tourists.

At the same time, it will be difficult for Slovenia to attract more golfers until they have got only 1 golf club (Royal Bled) that can truly compete with other high-end golf clubs in Europe.

IGTM 2018 & Tour Operator Sales growth 2017

This year, from Eastern Europe only these countries were represented on a state level:

  • The Czech Republic,
  • Slovakia,
  • Bulgaria.

I think Russia should do more to promote golf tourism in their country. They have got plenty of great golf clubs!

I met with the representatives of:

IGTM 2018 France as a golf destination

After the successful hosting of the 2018 Ryder Cup, France continued its active participation at the IGTM (see picture above).

What I was really happy to find at the IGTM 2018 is a resort that is utilizing the VR (virtual reality) technology to show and explain what kind of experiences we can find at their golf resort.

This smart and progressive resort is the Italian Toscana Resort Castelfalfi. If you remember then you know that I have already highlighted this solution in 2017 in regarding IGTM 2017 and how to promote golf destinations.

It is not just time-saving for people participating in a golf tourism exhibition, but can give a very good understanding of experience people can get in the golf resort/club etc. Virtual reality allows for guided tours of any place.

The system gives you a full 360-degree view of the place. For users, it is really easy to use or in other words, a no-brainer.

IGTM 2018 Toscana Resort Castelfalfi

Today it might sound futuristic, but we could use robots as assistance:

  • Get quick answers when you don’t have any special question to ask from your golf travel agency or at the reception of the clubhouse etc.,
  • concierge (e.g. Hilton’s Connie, an artificially intelligent concierge, developed in collaboration with IBM)
  • entertaining customers at busy times in your golf travel agency;
  • serving robots: to deliver meals and drinks to guests and customers at hotels quickly and efficiently (e.g. LG’s CLOi)

Hotel Jen Singapore is the first international hotel brand to use autonomous Savioke Relay robots in Asia.

IGTM 2019 – Marrakech, Morocco

IGTM 2018 and the IGTM 2019 Marrakech

 The 22nd edition of IGTM will be hosted in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. Morocco, the IAGTO 2015 Golf Destination of the Year in Africa & Gulf States, will welcome IGTM to Marrakech, from October 14-17, 2019.
Morocco welcomed more than 11 million tourists in 2017, now boasts 23 golf courses, including the award-winning Assoufid Golf Club (see picture below), Marrakech, recognized as the ‘Best in Africa at the 2017 World Golf Awards.

Morocco has also been a host destination to the Hassan II Trophy, a European Tour event hosted by Prince Moulay Rachid, since 2010.
Assoufid Golf Club Marrakech IGTM 2019