The course received visitors from all over the world. Now, with the country’s borders closed, it needs to reinvent itself to make a profit.
The Olympic Golf Course is part of the private sector, but it is a space for public use. Anyone can visit the area, which has bars, a restaurant, and even a chapel. To play golf, however, you need to pay the daily rate. To rent equipment or carts costs additional money.
The average was 10,000 visitors per month
One of the main sources of income comes from golfers from around the world interested in playing on a course that hosted the Olympic competition and is featured in golf magazines. The problem now is that the current pandemic has closed the country’s borders. “Before the average number of visitors was 10,000 people per month. Now, it is only about 2,000,” says Carlos Favoreto, president of the Rio Olympic Golf Course. As it is an individual sport played outdoors, the risk of transmission of covid-19 is reduced if safety protocols are followed, such as the use of a mask and alcohol gel.
Favoreto says he had to reduce the number of employees. The chapel, which is usually rented for weddings, was closed, in addition to other spaces on the property.
A new business model for more Brazilian golfers
It is necessary to rethink the business model. “Here came golfers from the United States, Mexico, Australia, South Korea, Argentina, from all over the world. Now the borders are closed, and Brazil will take a long time to receive foreign tourists. We will start working to have more Brazilian golfers here,” he says.
To attract these native players, it is likely that the prices charged will be rethought. The cost of 18 holes for foreigners is 410 reais (about USD 80,00) and 210 reais (about USD 40,00) for Brazilian. Club rental is 100 reais (USD 19,00). “We have partnerships with hotels in the region. Good business here is great news for everyone.”
Translated by Hunter Schenewark from the newspaper ESTADO DE SAO PAULO / 15.07.2020