Hoa Binh province now has only two courses and three more licenses were recently issued.
But the northern province is planning to become a golf hub and is eyeing 16 more by 2030.
Vinh Phuc, another northern province, plans to carry out 40 tourism and other projects with golf courses in the towns of Phu Yen and Tam Dao by 2030.
Many other northern provinces are also planning massive investments, with Bac Giang and Thai Nguyen each planning to build 13 courses and Quang Ninh 22.
Speaking at a meeting held on Thursday to discuss the development of a golf course in Hanoi, Ngo Cong Thanh, former deputy director of the planning management department of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said that the boom is the result of the earlier relaxation of investment procedures that was devolved. local authority.
Until 2021, applications to build golf courses had to first be submitted to the ministry for assessment before Cabinet would consider authorizing them.
But Decree 31/2021 guiding the investment law gives provinces and cities the right to authorize gold courses, Thanh said.
He said that by 2030, Vietnam could have between 400 and 500 golf courses, up from 100 currently.
Provinces have identified investors for all the courses they are considering, attracting both domestic and foreign capital as demand for the game has started to increase and shows potential, he said.
Furthermore, after the expiration of their 50-year land lease, investors will have priority in leasing the land or converting the land into urban areas or industrial parks, he explained.
Phan Huu Thang, former head of the ministry’s Foreign Investment Agency, said the government should identify golf as an industry.
It also needs to have a national map of golf courses and appropriate policies for each region and locality, he said.
There is a need to simplify licensing procedures in remote locations to attract investors, as mountainous provinces in the northern, central and central highlands regions want to have their own golf courses, he said. he adds.
Nguyen Ngoc Chu, former secretary-general of the Vietnam Golf Association, warned authorities against allocating too much land to golf courses.
“A golf course only needs 50 hectares of land but some are considering granting 100 to 120 hectares, which is wasteful.”
Additionally, they should not allow investors to leave the land unused and instead ensure that they continue the project once they take possession, he said.
Thanh said localities should also be careful in identifying golf course locations, citing the example of Hoa Binh province, which licensed an 80 billion dong ($3.2 million) course. in an area with water reservoirs and forests that need to be felled. causing a public outcry. As a result, it was abandoned, he said.
Commenting on the current golf market, Chu said the sport remains very expensive, costing between VND 3 and 5 million to play once, which poses an obstacle to its development.
He said that before golf courses consider attracting foreign tourists, they should first think about letting Vietnamese use them.
“It is unreasonable that the cost of playing golf in Vietnam is much higher than in the United States or Australia,” he added.
Vietnam needs more courses to break the market monopoly and lower prices, he said.
He estimates there should be 500 of them for the cost to return to the same level as in other countries, where players pay only $20 to $30 and also carry their own equipment.