Aberdeenshire Council's Formartine Area Committee has voted in favour of the controversial development, which would create thousands of jobs in the area, by seven votes to four. Trump said in a statement: "It is a tremendous victory. I am feeling great."
The application will now be presented to the Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee. If it upholds this decision the plans will be referred to the Scottish ministers for approval.
Environmentalists are concerned that such a resort would destroy delicate sand dune systems and rare plant species.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust is urging Aberdeenshire Council and the ministers to reject the proposal - warning that the approval is contrary to European and Scottish conservation legislation. Its national planning co-ordinator Paul Gallagher said: "If the plan proceeds in its current form, this development will destroy one of the top five dune habitats in the whole of Britain."
Design firm Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo (WATG), which in the past has worked on Disney resorts, has drawn up the first sketches of the resort featuring two golf courses, a hotel and hundreds of holiday homes.