The economic impact of East Lothian hosting the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open this year has been estimated at almost £5.5 million according to reports based on visitor surveys and ticket sales and using standard economic methodology.
The Scottish Open was held from July 11-15 at Gullane Golf Club and attracted 65,000 visitors. Of those surveyed, 13 per cent were from East Lothian, meaning that around 87 per cent of spectators were from outwith the area. Overseas visitors came from Hong Kong, Canada, Oman, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, South Africa, Portugal and the USA.
Almost 80 per cent of those surveyed were visiting East Lothian specifically for the tournament. Many visitors were staying overnight in the area and some had played golf while visiting or would return to East Lothian to play golf. The overall net economic impact including spending in shops and local facilities plus hotel stays has been estimated at just under £5 million.
For the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, which also took place in Gullane from July 25-29, just over 10,000 visitors attended with only 10% from East Lothian. 78 per cent of people from outwith East Lothian surveyed were visiting solely for the purpose of attending the event. The net economic impact has been calculated at almost £900,000.
The two tournaments not only boosted the economy at the time of the events but have helped to safeguard a number of local jobs. Average visitor spend per person was £112 per person for the Scottish Open and £150 for the Ladies Scottish Open, safeguarding 87 and 16 local tourism jobs respectively.
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “This is fantastic news and cements East Lothian’s reputation as Scotland’s Golf Coast. We were delighted to host these two tournaments this year and the fact they have brought in such a significant economic benefit makes it even more great news that East Lothian will be hosting both tournaments again in 2019. The comments from visitors who will return to East Lothian to play golf are especially welcome as it means the tournaments will continue to generate economic development for years to come, boosting trade for our wonderful golf courses and golf-related businesses including hotels, restaurants, cafes and local shops and visitor attractions.
“Another fantastic legacy comes from the fact that, in this Year of Young People, our school children were involved in competing for Pro Am places, ensuring that some of our youngsters had the experience of a lifetime, playing with some of the world’s best golfers, helping to secure a passion for golf amongst the next generation.”
Gael Pollitt, Chair of Scotland’s Golf Coast, said: “Scotland’s Golf Coast welcomes this report which demonstrates the economic impact of major golfing events to East Lothian."
Rory Colville, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open Championship Director, said: “We are delighted to hear that the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open had such a strong impact on the East Lothian economy. We had overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who directly experienced the tournament, and it’s pleasing to hear that the high proportion of those who attended from outside of East Lothian benefitted the area to this extent. We hope that returning to Scotland’s Golf Coast in 2019 at The Renaissance Club continues to strengthen East Lothian’s reputation as an outstanding golfing destination.”
Martin Gilbert, CEO of title sponsors, Aberdeen Standard Investments commented: “It’s great to see this report highlighting the fact that golf continues to play an integral role for Scottish tourism and as title sponsor we are proud to host both events at some of the best courses that Scotland has to offer. We are looking forward to welcoming the world’s best players back to East Lothian next year when we visit The Renaissance Club.”
Paul Bush, Director of Events with VisitScotland said: “Golf is a vital part of Scotland’s visitor economy and I am delighted to see such encouraging figures in this recent report. Golf tourism is worth £286 million to the country annually and hosting the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish and Ladies Scottish Opens, two world class events, only further enhances Scotland’s reputation as the Home of Golf. We look forward to welcoming golf fans from around the world when we return to the stunning East Lothian coastline next year.”
The 2019 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open takes place from July 11-14, 2019, followed by the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open from August 8-11, 2019, both at The Renaissance Club, East Lothian.