Another year has almost come to a close. It gives us a bit of time to reflect on the past and look forwards to the future.
Yes, it's been nine years now since we set up the EGTMA basically on the back of a beer mat (as you do) following on what were already some successful 'European Writers Golf Tour' events led by Ethel and Colin Farqueharson. Back in 2005, a number of journalists were being driven around Portugal together with some LET members and we played golf in the Algarve (Montado), down to Vimeiro Golf (and getting lost along the way) and then heading for the Riba courses just South of Lisbon.
At the end of the event, Colin & Ethel asked me if I was interested to continue their 'organisation' as they were ready to retire from it. I agreed under one condition ...that they were to be the Honorary President(s) for life of a more organised 'association' to which they agreed.
The EGTMA took form and it all began in earnest with a trip to Ireland and to the North & West Coast Links back in 2006. We were both newly formed and both have since then grown into respected organisations in our respective fields.
Over these past nine years, we've been fortunate enough to visit many places and experience wonderful hospitality everywhere we have been. We've organised to date, 41 media trips to destinations like Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, Norway, Germany, Greece, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey and even China and Canada. Quite a good number being only 'part time' and a number some PR organisations wouldn't even get to.
That was then, this is now and 2015 has somewhat been an unfortunate year for the EGTMA as professional challenges and work obligations have not allowed me to put much effort in the organisation and therefore provide the number of events that our members have been accustomed to over the past nine years. Now that these challenges are out of the way, I have been able to focus a bit more on getting more trips for next year as 2016 is our 10th Anniversary Year.
We start 2016, ironically where it all began as described in the first paragraph. February coming we're heading to the Algarve where the recently formed NAU Hotel Group has invited us to sample their hotels and three golf courses: Salgados, Alamos and (???) Morgado ! This will take place from February first till the sixth. In April we will have a busy month as the area around Chateau Des Vigiers with the newly opened St Emillion and the established Medoc Golf Resort will host a selection of predominantly GB&I journalists. End of April we're heading back to Ireland with another North & West Coast Links event.
We are in discussions with several other destinations, some of which we've already been to ... the Porto Region following up on our successful trip in 2013 , Biarritz have expressed a keen interest as they are still receiving articles supporting their efforts to receive us and Wales will roll out several themed marketing campaigns which are to be supported by some media trips. There are also a few long shots with England Golf and/or the English Golf Coast looking to receive some EGTMA members plus Huelva are now cranking up their golf marketing and we already have a proposal with them.
We are working on a worthy 10 Year celebration finish end of 2016 where we can have a large number of members (current and even past) to participate and celebrate our 10th anniversary in style.
Your President ... forever (looks like it)