Da Nang says golf courses a big hit among South Korean tourists

By VnExpress   October 21, 2016 | 02:44 pm GMT+7
Da Nang says golf courses a big hit among South Korean tourists
Many golf courses in Vietnam have been rapped for their pollution threats. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

The development of golf courses to target affluent tourists has been a controversial matter in Vietnam.

South Koreans are expected to soon surpass Chinese tourists to become the biggest group of visitors in the beach city of Da Nang, and officials said the city’s golf courses have been "a major attraction."

Da Nang, Vietnam’s third largest city, received around 300,000 visitors from South Korea during the first nine months this year. More than a quarter of all South Koreans traveling to Vietnam in the period visited the city.

The city said the number is currently equal to that of Chinese arrivals, but is expected to surge in the last months of the year.

South Korean visitors are allowed to stay in Vietnam for 15 days without a visa.

Several new, regular direct flights were launched last year, connecting Da Nang with Busan and Seoul.

But one attraction that has drawn many deep-pocket South Korean tourists is the city’s golf courses, according to Tran Chi Cuong, deputy director of the tourism department in Da Nang.

The city has four big courses and several Vietnamese travel companies have been promoting them in South Korea for several years, Cuong told the Saigon Times.

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

A national development plan for golf courses 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.

There are around 54 flights from Busan and Seoul to Da Nang every week, twice the number seen around this time last year.

Da Nang, which is best known for beautiful beaches and mountain sites, received more than 1.3 million foreign tourists in the first nine months of this year, up 26 percent from a year ago.

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