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Nothing like a round of golf to throw the spotlight back on Dubai's pristine greens... and its golfing communities. And if the tee-off involves some of the top players in the business, the level of interest generated can scale up quite a bit.
''As Dubai becomes increasingly linked to major cities around the world, we are seeing a rise in the number of overseas spectators at the DP World Tour Championship (the $8 million (Dh29.38 million) season-ender which starts later this week — from November 20 to 23 — at Jumeirah Golf Estates),'' said Nick Tarratt, Director of European Tour International, Dubai Office. ''In 2013, almost a third of spectators had travelled from abroad, while 43 per cent confirmed the tournament was the main reason for their visit — highlighting the positive and growing impact of golf on visitor numbers.
''The legacy of golf tournaments was also evident with four in ten spectators saying they would definitely return to play golf at Jumeirah Golf Estates in the future as a result of attending the event.''
There is a rare urgency in trying to deepen interest for the game — and win over a new generation of ardent followers — in emerging markets. There have been recent media reports of a dip among those trying to take up the game in the US.
But scenario for the game in the Gulf is a whole lot greener. Damac Properties and the Trump Organisation is putting together a championship-standard course at the Akoya development in Dubailand. Other developments elsewhere in the Gulf are anchoring their attractions around the greens.
''According to a report by Repucom, the 2013 DP World Tour Championship delivered a variety of benefits to Dubai, including driving golf tourism,'' said Tarratt. ''It resulted in [a] $44 million gross economic benefit to Dubai, with a $280 million marketing benefit from global television exposure.''
Dubai currently has nine golf clubs and 180 golf holes, and apart from the DP World Tour Championship, also hosts the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters and the recently announced Dubai Open on the Asian Tour.
Along with the actual game, the European Tour is a showcase for a premium collection of properties clusters around golf courses, including in the Middle East. ''As investor sentiment improves, we are seeing a rise in demand across our network of 13 venues,'' said David Maclaren, Director of Property and Venue Development, European Tour. ''As home to the season finale of the European Tour's Race to Dubai, the emirate is naturally a key market for us and we are encouraged by the real estate sector's growth momentum.
''On average across the emirate, we are seeing an approximate 10 per cent uplift in golf property values, which we feel is directly attributable to the neighbouring golf facilities, making communities, including Jumeirah Golf Estates, an appealing and valuable proposition for local and international investors and homeowners.
''From a resort owner's perspective, becoming an official European tour destination offers obvious advantages, given the association with the game's only truly global tour with 47 tournaments in 26 countries.''
Report on Luxury Villas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com