Golf Tourism Below Par

A new KPMG survey is revealing The Bahamas has lost ground to competing destinations in the Caribbean as they aggressively move to better appeal to the pocketbooks of a growing number of travel golfers.

The Bahamas has dropped out of an arguable fourth place for distribution of supply in the region, according to KPMG's Golf Benchmark Survey for 2009, which looks at benchmark indicators and performance of golf courses in the Caribbean. This nation, in fact, was putted out of fourth place by Costa Rica, which offers two more golf courses than this nation's 10.

"The island chain of The Bahamas is also well established as a premier golf destination, however the global recession appears to have impacted adversely on The Bahamas," read the survey. "Five of the islands' courses currently [are] either closed or in receivership.

"Two of these closures could be considered a result of the current economic situation."

Indeed, instead of holding eight percent of the Caribbean supply of golf courses as it did just two years ago, The Bahamas now holds seven percent. The decline may not have come as surprise for many given the global crisis of 2008 and 2009 that has effected the golf market in the Caribbean, which continues to be heavily reliant on tourism. That's a category that has plummeted in recent years for The Bahamas, with December numbers pointing to a 10 dip in air arrivals over all.

"Since 2007, conditions have evolved from a credit crunch to a global economic crisis with tourism and related real estate sales being negatively impacted," the report continued. "Not surprisingly a lack of available capital and financing, and increasing caution by lenders and investors has resulted in project failures and cancellations throughout the region."

The Bahamas drop in the golf survey came as Costa Rica leaped up from its 6 percent of two years ago to hold eight percent of the region's total supply.

"Golf in Costa Rica has experienced significant growth over the past decade and today the country offer at least 12 world-class golf courses," the survey added. "This growth has been fostered by the expansion of real estate development, tourism and environment friendly economic development as well as sustainable water management practices, ecological balance and the social and political stability of the country."

Leading the region was the Dominican Republic with 24 percent of the region's supply, followed by Puerto Rico with 16 percent, Costa Rica and Jamaica.

Source: The Nassau Guardian
Last Updated on Sunday, 21 March 2010 14:49