The Open drives £120m boost for Scottish economy

The Open golf tournament at Carnoustie boosted the Scottish economy by £120 million this year.

The 147th Open attracted a record 172,000 fans in July to watch the tournament won by Francesco Molinari, who became the first Italian to lift the Claret Jug.

The Open has been played in Scotland more often than any other country, with Carnoustie hosting the event for the first time since 2007, surpassing the 157,000 attendance record set in 1999.

An independent study found the economic impact of the tournament was a boost of £69 million, in addition to £51 million in destination marketing activity from The Open being broadcast on television to more than 600 million households in 193 countries.

Welcoming the research by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Open Championship is synonymous with Scotland as the home of golf, and this year’s Open at Carnoustie once again showcased Scotland internationally as the perfect stage for major events.

“The figures released today also demonstrate the economic benefits of hosting major events and I’m pleased the 147th Open generated significant income for both the local Angus area and for the wider Scottish economy.

“We look forward to bringing The Open back to Scotland in 2021 when it returns to St Andrews, and of course we will welcome the world to Gleneagles next September for the Solheim Cup.”

The Open Championship 2018 – Day Four – Carnoustie Golf Links
The Open Championship 2018 – Day Four – Carnoustie Golf Links

The study – which was commissioned by golf’s governing body the R&A, VisitScotland and Angus Council – also concluded the Angus area alone received a £21 million injection of new money from The Open.

Almost half of the spectators who attended (49.8%) travelled from outside Scotland, while the majority of Scottish fans (84.8%) came from outside Angus.

Sixty-two per cent of non-Angus residents indicated they would return to the region for a break within 12 months.

David Fairweather, leader of Angus Council, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Open back, along with a record 172,000 fans. We all enjoyed a fantastic event that attracted global interest and attention, as well as immediate and long-lasting economic benefits to local and regional communities and business.

“£21 million of new money into the local economy is great news for Angus, its people, hotels, B&Bs, shops and restaurants.

“The 147th Open at Carnoustie was outstanding and my message to those who joined us and to The R&A is straightforward – Haste Ye Back.”

Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive, added: “The Open has a proven track record of generating substantial economic benefit for the host country in which it is staged thanks to the tens of thousands of spectators who attend each year.

“The return of The Open to Carnoustie has been a great success. We enjoyed a memorable week in which we welcomed a record number of fans to one of golf’s great championship venues to witness Francesco Molinari create history by becoming the first Italian to lift the iconic Claret Jug.”