Vietnam approves massive golf course in coastal town Cam Ranh

By Anh Minh   February 13, 2017 | 10:43 pm PT
This will be the first golf course in the strategically located town, known for a bay and an international port of the same name.

The Vietnamese government has approved a plan to build a 90-hectare golf course in the central coastal town Cam Ranh this year.

A statement from the government office said work on the 27-hole golf course, the first in the town, has been approved to start this year and is expected to take three years.

The project, developed by privately owned Long Thanh Golf Investment and Trading JSC, is estimated to cost VND600 billion ($26.4 million).

Cam Ranh, known for the namesake bay and international port, is not far from the popular tourist town Nha Trang.

The investor will be allowed to run the project for 50 years but is banned from transferring it to foreign investors without securing approval from the defense ministry first.

Cam Ranh is considered the finest deepwater shelter in Southeast Asia. It was once used as a naval base by France, Japan, Russia and the U.S.

The government earlier rejected two other golf courses in Cam Ranh. State-owned giant PetroVietnam is developing a golf project in Cam Lam, a small district around 30 kilometers away.

The development of golf courses to target affluent tourists has been a controversial issue in Vietnam. Investors see it as a big draw but environmental experts are vocal about serious pollution threats due to the heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides, often near bodies of water.

For example, Tan Son Nhat golf course in Ho Chi Minh City reportedly uses 190 tons of fertilizers and nearly nine tons of pesticides every year.

Le Anh Tuan, a senior environment researcher at Can Tho University in the Mekong Delta, said international studies have found that each hectare of these courses uses three to five times more chemicals than the same area of agriculture land.

A national development plan said that by the end of 2020, Vietnam will have 96 golf courses, including 19 in the Red River Delta and four in the Mekong Delta, the two main rice baskets of the country.

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