Coastal South Carolina is the 2009 Established Golf Destination of the Year

24 November 2008

The membership of the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) have selected Coastal South Carolina as the 2009 Established Golf Destination of the Year – North America at their annual conference in Marbella, Spain. “The combination of Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, and Charleston make a very compelling story, whether told individually or collectively. In fact, each of the Coastal South Carolina regions fared very well in their own right with the voting process”, said Peter Walton, Chief Executive Officer of London based IAGTO

Golf Tour Operators were asked to evaluate leading destinations based on the following criteria:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Quality of Golf Courses & Accommodation
  • Value for money
  • Accessibility of Tee Times
  • Speed of communication and quality of service of the golf resort sales, marketing, administration, reservation, and management staff.

Gary W. Edwards, Managing Director, Coastal South Carolina, USA said, “We are extremely humbled and encouraged that tour operators worldwide would validate our destination in such a strong way. Given the selection criteria, it is an honor we do not accept lightly because it recognizes the entire tourism industry of our region. It is an award for the bag attendant who always smiles as he grabs the clubs out of the trunk. It is an award for the professionals who cheerfully serve refreshments on the course and in the restaurants. This confirms what we have known – that professionalism combined with good South Carolina hospitality works just as well in Europe and the far reaches of the globe as it does here at home.”

Steve Mays, of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, and Shannon Odom, of Charleston Golf, Inc., accepted the award on behalf of the industry in Marbella, Spain at the annual gala dinner sponsored by the membership.


IAGTO is the global trade organization for the golf tourism industry, comprising more than 1130 companies in 74 countries, including over 330 specialist golf tour operators in 46 countries. IAGTO operators control more than 80% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide (outside of Asia) and in 2007 their turnover exceeded €1 billion. IAGTO’s Chief Executive, Peter Walton, said "The annual golf holiday is the highlight of the golfing year for many of the world’s 50 million players, and the IAGTO Awards serve to reward a few exceptional contributions to this world of golf travel. There is certainly no shortage of candidates worthy of recognition. Many individuals, companies, organizations and destinations have excelled in delivering a great golfing experience to the golf traveller – the ultimate goal for all involved in golf tourism”.

About Coastal South Carolina, USA
Coastal South Carolina USA is an international destination marketing organization for Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Hilton Head Island. Its membership consists of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Charleston Golf, Inc., Charleston County Aviation Authority, Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau, Lowcountry Golf Course Owners Association, and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.


Gary Edwards Coastal South Carolina USA
+1 843 224 0151

Steve Mays Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday
+1 843 222 0801

Danna Lilly Myrtle Beach CVB
+1 843 916 7261

Perrin Lawson Charleston Area CVB
+1 843 805 3050

Susan Thomas Hilton Head Island VCB
+1 843 341 8366

Brett Borton LCGOA
+1 843 422 0553

Shannon Odom Charleston Golf, Inc.
+1 843 805 3067

Coastal South Carolina
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Steve Mays - Myrtle Beach Golf Holidays
Shannon Odom - Charleston Golf
Peter Walton, Chief Executive - IAGTO
Ceremony - Coastal South Carolina
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Peter Walton, Chief Executive - IAGTO
Shannon Odom - Charleston Golf
Steve Mays - Myrtle Beach Golf Holidays

20th November 2008