Competition from other countries

If golf courses are to become the next major product of Greek tourism, then Greece’s infrastructure must become competitive with those of other Mediterranean destinations boasting golf courses. At the moment, Spain has 270 golf courses, while Italy has 229, Portugal 67, Turkey 14 and Cyprus four. In all of these countries there are plans to build many more, and many of the existing ones have provided returns on the investments in construction. In this business culture, the argument that «we need more courses because golfers like to play on different ones every day» will hit us like a boomerang. Why would golfers choose a country with so few golf courses, over one where there are three and four times as many, and which has the same Mediterranean sun and sea? Moreover, these countries have been developing their infrastructure since the 1980s, so they have a tradition of providing services and already have a following among golfers. «The golden age of the Iberian peninsula (1998-2000) is already in the past,» Briasouli said. «In recent years, there have been fewer golfers and the economic crisis in Europe is not providing much margin for optimism.» Some believe Greece – «the most beautiful country in the world» – is being deprived of tourists, so it needs new ways to attract visitors. But others wonder what will happen to Greece’s natural beauty after a round of «plastic surgery» to suit golfers.