Slovenia will utilise this year’s International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) to demonstrate to attending golf suppliers, buyers, visitors and media why it is among the fastest growing European golf destinations.
In 2017, the country attracted more than 15,000 international golfers, who played an estimated 21,000 rounds, contributing in excess of €3.9million to the overall Slovenian economy, an increase of 20% since 2015.
Golf tourism currently accounts for 0.3% of Slovenia’s overall tourism value to the economy, with the latest figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasting a 6.2% increase in the total contribution of tourism to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, compared to 2017.
Commenting ahead of IGTM 2018, when Slovenia will welcome more than 1,000 golf travel industry professionals,the Slovenian Tourist Board’s Director General, Msc. Maja Pak, said: “Slovenia is a unique European golf destination in that all our golf courses are within a 100-minutes’ drive from the capital city.
“We have also built our tourism strategy on a strong, sustainable campaign that draws on our rich history, diverse culture, outstanding natural beauty and resources, thanks to Slovenia’s location between the Alps, the Mediterranean and Karst, the Pannonian Plain, as well as our vibrant capital city of Ljubljana.
“With our passion and commitment focused on developing a tourism strategy built on 5-star experiences for the active leisure visitor, we strongly believe hosting IGTM is a big step to fulfil our mission.”
Žiga Osterc, President of the Golf Tourism Association in Slovenia, added: “Although our golfing heritage dates back 81 years to when Slovenia’s first course, Royal Bled, was opened, the country remains a hidden gem. However, our hope is that by hosting IGTM it will provide us with the opportunity to further promote our unique destination to the leading suppliers and buyers within the golf tourism industry and help put the country firmly on the world golfing map.
“Being named the Undiscovered Golf Destination by IAGTO in 2015 was one of the first milestones, and it proved our efforts to develop our golf tourism segment were being recognised by the international golf travel market.”
Boasting seven 18-hole courses and eight 9-hole layouts, Slovenia’s varied golf offerings will be showcased during the 21st edition of IGTM, where more than 650 exhibiting delegates from national and regional golf tourism organisations and leading resorts and golf courses are expected to attend and exhibit.
The four-day event being held at The GR Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ljubljana, from October 15 – 18, 2018, will also see more than 420 pre-qualified buyers and tour operators, as well as golf industry experts come together in Slovenia’s capital city.