Gurgaon, India: With a view to unlock the economic and employment potential through development of golf courses and promotion of golf travel and tourism, experts from different sectors came together this week under the umbrella of Indian Golf Industry Association (IGIA).
The occasion was a curtain raiser for the fourth annual India Golf Expo; arguably India’s largest meeting ground for the business of golf.
Speaking on the occasion, Aakash Ohri, Director DLF and President IGIA said: “Golf industry with its multifarious interests is aligning itself with the economic agenda of the Government. Mega investments in golf real estate are underway or are lined up which will provide a springboard for several sectors of economy.”
Getamber Anand, President-elect of CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India), said: “The centre of economic gravity is shifting towards Asia. India is poised to emerge as a major growth driver for world economy with inflow of large number of expatriates, a trend that is already visible.
“States and destinations seeking to attract large scale investments from European, American, Japanese and Korean companies and also into real estate and tourism can see a huge advantage if they offer golf, which is a favourite pastime of expatriate executives.
Experts also quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who recently stated: “When my administration wanted the Japanese investment in Gujarat, they were told that the Japanese won’t come without a golf course. So, the Government decided to create a golf course.”
With its members drawn from real estate, travel and tourism and urban development, IGIA is a non-profit industry association with the aim to build and promote the Indian golf industry. As an ally of the Indian Golf Union (IGU), IGIA will undertake golf-related research each year and disseminate the same to Government agencies and media.
Wing Commander Arun K. Singh, the IGU’s Director General, said: “Golf has multiplier spin-off effect for the economy. Thailand and Malaysia as well as Middle East generated around US$100 million in revenues last year from golf tourism.
“India has potential to grow to this level especially during mild winter months. Golf can contribute to Greening India campaign of the Government. Degraded forest land, abandoned mines and quarries can be converted into golf courses and earn revenues for the state.
“Golf industry entails huge employment potential as well. Each golf course and resort generates employment for 200-500 people directly.”
Around 20 smaller golf projects are already underway in India with total investments between Rs 600-1,000 crore. Another 20 large projects which are likely to be created in the next five years will see investments of Rs 5,000-10,000 crore into golf projects as a standard 200 to 300 acre golf course entails an investment ranging between Rs 200-500 crore depending on the location and size.
However, this is still a fraction of the size of the golf course industry in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and China which is building significant golf infrastructure concomitant with its economic development.
Rishi Narain, former Asian Games gold medallist golfer and organiser of the India Golf Expo for the IGIA said: “India Golf Expo 2015 is India’s largest and most comprehensive gathering for the business of golf. The event will bring the best of minds from across sectors on one platform.”
The exposition, to be held on April 15-16 at DLF Club 5, will comprise a symposium, IGU turf care seminar, NGAI’s instructor’s coaching conference and an exhibition.