October 2014

The first International Garden Tourism Network (IGTN) - 13.10.14

The International Garden Tourism Network was founded on 3 October 2014, during Gardens Without Limits, an international conference held in Metz, France. The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle is a founding member, together with 15 other representatives from the garden tourism sector. The IGTN is an international platform that will, for the first time, bring together main figures in the garden world, garden-related events and driving forces within tourism, in order to shape, advance and professionalize garden tourism as a growing sector within the tourism industry. 

Garden tourism is a rapidly growing sector within the tourism industry, especially in Anglo-American and Asian regions, where gardens are steadily gaining importance as tourism destinations. On 3 October 2014 at the International Gardens Without Limits conference in Metz, France, internationally active representatives from the garden and tourism sectors joined forces, forming the International Garden Tourism Network (IGTN). This represents a milestone for international networking and the successful creation of a lobby for garden tourism. 

As a new and international voice for garden tourism, one of the tasks of the IGTN is to raise awareness about gardens and garden-related events, such as shows and festivals, as factors for tourism. Other functions include supporting research, encouraging exchange regarding the subject of garden tourism and gathering together scientific phenomena. Finally, the IGTN will promote the quality-oriented development of garden tourism and serve as an advocate for garden tourism.

The founding members elected Richard Benfield, a professor at Central Connecticut State University (USA) and author of Garden Tourism (2013), as the network’s president. Michel Gauthier, president of the Canadian Garden Council (CA), and Pascal Garbe, ideator and organizer of the Jardins sans Limits conference in Metz (F), will serve as vice presidents, while Alison Partridge of Going Gardens (GB) will be the executive director. Heike Platter,
the marketing director
and head of strategy for the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle (I), will serve as secretary and assume responsibility for the strategic marketing of the international platform.

The next step for the international network, which is based in London, is to build a functioning structure for future members.