Local governments have continued asking for prime ministerial approval to develop golf courses despite the government’s strategy to limit the number of such projects across the nation.
In early 2011, northern Bac Ninh province sourced the prime minister green-light to add 36-hole Hap Linh golf course to Vietnam golf course development planning towards 2020.
Similarly, central region’s Quang Ngai province gave the nod to Van Tuong golf course’s scale 1/500 detailed planning. According to the leadership in these two locations, building golf courses in their areas conform to the country’s golf course development planning and do not affect rice planting areas and the environment.
According to a Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) report, a number of localities across the country such as Thanh Hoa, Thai Nguyen, Thai Binh, Dak Lak and Quang Ninh are in the same position.
If their golf course proposals were all green-lighted, Vietnam would have a total 124 golf courses instead of current 90, according to the MPI.
In late 2009, MPI launched an extensive check up of golf courses development across the country on the heels of strong public opinions about golf course booming development badly affecting rice growing areas and the environment.
Consequently, 76 golf course projects were stamped out as failing to meet planning requirements with around 15,600 hectares being retrieved and 90 golf courses remained.
In MPI recent efforts to revise golf course development, it found out 27 other golf courses in 13 locations non existent in the country’s golf course development planning and not conforming to their approved land usage planning.
Of these 27 golf course projects, construction of five projects was underway and other five projects were licenced before the enactment of Decision 1946/2009/QD-TTg approving Vietnam golf course development planning towards 2020.
How to deal with these golf courses is not simple. Accordingly, the MPI recently submitted to the prime minister three scenarios in which it suggested different ways relevant to Vietnam’s golf course development planning.
Under the first scenario, the MPI suggests maintaining current golf course number of 90 until 2020. However, of these 90 golf course projects five projects will be abrogated due to delays in implementation and changes to land use objectives, five others will be added which are golf course projects getting licences before the enactment of the Decision 1946.
In the second scenario, MPI suggests adding golf courses which satisfy all set requirements to the country’s golf course development planning. Accordingly, Vietnam will have a total 96 golf courses until 2020.
In the third scenario, Vietnam will house 118 golf courses, including existing 85 and 33 additional golf courses which do currently not include in the development planning.
In regards to the third one, MPI assumes that these 118 golf courses satisfy all set requirements and are positioned in areas with high potential for tourism development.
“If the third scenario goes ahead, Vietnam would have a stable number of golf courses until 2020 and incur no threat of the general golf course development planning being broken due to additional golf courses,” said MPI Minister Vo Hong Phuc.
Closer regulations will be introduced to keep golf course projects under control to ensure these projects bring social benefits and do not hurt the environment, according to the MPI.