Destination Golf - September 2016 * - Page 29

Peter Walton and Mr. Krit Thanavanich, Chiang Mai Vice Governor at AGTC 2016, Chiang Mai © Peter Ellegard IAGTO is still involved in as a major sponsor. With this year’s We have demonstrated how our Awards can act as a catalyst for IGTM happening in Palma, Mallorca, in November what are best practice as well as showcasing existing excellence. More their significance? than 120 IAGTO golf courses have now enrolled with GEO’s On PW: As the global trade association of the golf tourism industry we have taken great care and immense pride over the past 16 Course Sustainability programme and are pursuing full GEO Certification. years to ensure that our annual Awards represent the pinnacle DG: Golf has often had a bad rap over its environmental of achievement for golf destinations and golf resorts, reflecting credentials. Is that still justified or is it cleaning up its act? accurately the opinions of golf tour operators, golf travel writers and, ultimately, the golf traveller. With only nine Awards presented each year, the impact on the winners is tangible and we expect the 17th edition this November in Palma to be no different! DG: Sustainability is now a key element of the IAGTO Awards with the recent introduction of the IAGTO Sustainability Awards. Why were they added? PW: We began looking at how entire destinations plan the development of golf courses in 2005, and by that time sustainability was firmly on everyone’s agenda. I cannot imagine a situation now where the requirements for a new golf development do not include a positive sustainability outcome. From our own perspective, we place ecological preservation, water conservation, community engagement and the sustainable use of resources at the heart of the integrated golf tourism PW: As a zoology graduate and one-time professional ecologist, development and promotional strategies that we have been I have a long-standing interest in sustainability. Four years ago, invited to develop in 33 countries and regions worldwide. IAGTO entered in H\\\]H[\ۛY[ܙ[^][ۈ SH[\Y[X\\\XY]B][ܙX]\\Z[X[]HYX\ۈYX\H][YHPQ”\Z[X[]H]\YHYX\Y]\YHوBH\H[H\و[\Y[[\H\[][ۜXYHS\YYY[ZH\Z[X[]B[\][ [ܙYXHXY][Y[و\\[\Y[ YY^[\\و\XXH[[\H[K[YH 8(\YH BB