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Monday, July 20, 2009

Puerto Rican golf courses get make overs to attract rich customers

Despite the world wide financial crisis, golf courses around Puerto Rico are upgrading to attract rich customers. Some of the major golf clubs such as The Trump International Golf Club, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, J.W. Marriott, Gran Melia Puerto Rico Golf Resort and Villas, El Conquistador Resort & Golden Door Spa, The Wyndham are either undergoing or finished their upgrades. At a time when people all over the world are worried about their financial condition, this upgrade may look like a big risk but there are rich people who are not affected by the financial slowdown. Moreover, building a bigger and better golf course would generate profit in the long run.

The small island of Puerto Rico has beautiful sandy beaches, mountains and valleys which makes it a great tourist destination. Tourism in fact is a big industry for the country. Golf is one of the tourism niches targeted by Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Mari Jo Laborde, Deputy Executive Director, Marketing and Promotions, Puerto Rico Tourism Company said that golf is a big part of the island’s “Explore Beyond the Shore” tourism campaign. It highlights activities outside beaches. Puerto Rico has a reputation of hosting some of major golf events over the years. Aside from the growing local golf market, hotels and golf clubs are trying to attract affluent people from abroad.

The Trump International Golf Club and Residences, which is situated in San Juan, is the latest Caribbean real estate venture of Donald Trump. The project costs $600 milion. Initially, the plan was to build 1400 villas which had been cut down to 700. The first 56 units are prepared for sale each with a price starting from below $1 million. The golf course of Trump International is designed by Tom Kite. In March 2007, the club hosted the Puerto Rico Open, a PGA tournament. The club will host the event this year as well. A total of $ 4.5 million has been spent in renovating the course.

Then there is the St. Rgis Hotels & Resorts near the Trump villas which in 2007, opened the Bahia Beach golf course. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, a luxury and hotel and spa are going to be opened in 2010. In October 2008, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Regent Hotels & Resorts jointly announced to open new luxury hotels in 2011 in a resort named Palmas del Mar. Situated at the Southeast of San Juan, Palmas del Mar has a golf course designed by Reese Jones and Gary Player. Traditionally, golf resorts were build in the northern coast but new courses have been created in the southern region in the last couple of years.

Related articles:

USA Today

(This entry was originally published on Thursday, January 1st, 2009 )

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