|Local authorities want to develop more golf courses
Le Cao Doan from the Vietnam Economics Institute said that this is a ‘strange move’ which is contrary to economic laws. Investors still want to build golf courses though golf courses don’t bring high profits as it is very difficult to attract players.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) confirmed that half of 98 projected golf courses have not become operational or have been unprofitable.
This is explained by the fact that golf courses require huge initial investment capital, while it takes investors a long time to recover investment capital.
Doan said that scandals related to golf course development in Phu Yen, Vinh Phuc and Ninh Thuan, in which investors used the land allocated to develop golf courses for other purposes.
“The scandals have posed questions about golf course programming quality,” Doan said.
In some localities, investors were allocated hundreds of hectares of protective forestland or agricultural land to develop golf courses, resorts and villas at dirt-cheap prices.
Doan doubts that the large land plots investors expect to be allocated are what they target when registering to develop golf courses.
They must not expect to earn money from golf club members, who are believed to account for 0.01% of the population .
Meanwhile, they can make big money from the land plots where golf courses are located, because the courses increase the value of properties nearby.
Doan warned of a “golf course boom” which would harm the national economy.
“We have to learn a lesson from the ‘seaport and airport boom’. Many of these projects have been left idle and are unprofitable. This must not occur with golf courses,” he said.
Bui Ngoc Son from the World Economics and Politics Research Institute agrees with Doan, saying that investors are targeting large land plots which can bring real estate development opportunities, not golf courses.
“I think registering golf course projects is an intentional move which for private purposes and don’t serve local economic development,” Son said.
“This is just land speculation,” he said, adding that Quang Binh province alone wants to develop up to 10 golf courses, which is described as an ‘unacceptable and arbitrary’.
“One province wants to develop 10 golf courses. How many golf courses will Vietnam have in 63 provinces and cities then?” he said.