Golf: Displacement and water scarcity
Golf course design has greatly improved as a result of this global campaign. The Asian economic crisis in the mid-1990s briefly halted the golf course boom. However, growth in golf tourism has now resumed and golf courses are commonly incorporated into huge tourism developments in even the driest regions of Southern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The 1980s economic boom saw a proliferation of golf courses across the globe and a massive surge in golf tourism, particularly in tropical Southeast Asia. By the 1990s, 350 new golf courses were being built world-wide each year. Maintaining golf courses in prime condition requires massive inputs of fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and water. An average 18-hole golf course soaks up at least 525,000 gallons of water a day - enough to supply the irrigation needs of 100 Malaysian farmers. Many farming communities lost their land and were evicted either with minimal or no compensation for golf course development.
In the early 1990s, Tourism Concern successfully campaigned in support of World No Golf Day, highlighting the environmental and human rights issues connected to golf course development. We brought together partners visiting from Asia with golf industry officials to discuss the issues.
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