Golf industry still growing in North Africa

While the vast majority of the African continent -- with the exception of South Africa -- has never embraced golf, there are signs that things are changing.

A new report studying the business of golf in North Africa finds that while there still are a relatively small number of courses operating in the region -- just 43 --  nearly double that amount are in various stages of planning and construction.

Most of the existing and planned courses are situated in tourist areas and are part of large, master-planned resort communities, according to the 2008 KPMG Golf Benchmark Survey in North Africa.

Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG's Golf Advisory Practice in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region, said that the survey was conducted prior to the fall global financial crisis, though he said the outlook for North Africa remains positive.

"This is the first time the North African golf market has been studied in such detail," he said.

The study identified between 40 and 45 golf projects in different stages of development in the region.

Because of its proximity to Europe and warm climate, the supply of golf courses is expected to increase in the future, with several international developers entering the market, the KPMG report said. 

Because North African courses rely so strongly on tourism, most golf revenues are generated by greens fees. On average, the courses generated a 25-30 percent gross operating profit margin in 2007, Sartori said.

Other findings of the report:

-- Golf participation among local populations remains extremely low, with only about 9,000 registered golfers across the region.

-- About 33 percent of all golfers are women and 11 percent are juniors.

-- 18-hole courses average 20,000 rounds a year.

-- Average greens fees are €57 weekdays and €59 weekends.

-- Average revenues for an 18-hole golf course is €945,000 annually

Where Northern African courses are located

Country            No. courses           

Morocco            18

Egypt                14

Tunisia              10

Algeria                 1

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