The economic impact of East Lothian hosting the Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) Scottish Open and Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open has been estimated at just over £5 million.
The ASI Scottish Open was held from 9-14 July at The Renaissance Club for the first time and attracted 68,000 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 as far afield as the USA & Canada.
Almost 77 per cent of those surveyed were visiting East Lothian specifically for the ASI Scottish Open. 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 £4.8 million.
For the ASI Ladies Scottish Open, which also took place in The Renaissance Club from 8-11 August, 8,000 visitors attended with 18% from East Lothian. 80 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 £400K - lower than reported in 2018 which is largely as a result of lower attendance due to adverse weather notably on the Friday and Sunday of the event.
The two tournaments, that both had a potential TV audience of over 400 million worldwide including live coverage on Sky Sports in the UK and Golf Channel in the US, boosted the economy at the time of the events while helping to support jobs. Average visitor spend per person was £100 for both events.
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “The return of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open to East Lothian in 2019 was an excellent opportunity to build on our reputation as Scotland’s Golf Coast.
“These findings underline the significance of our golfing assets to the local economy, with events of this nature having hugely positive impacts on local businesses, boosting trade for our wonderful golf courses and golf-related businesses including hotels, restaurants, cafes and local shops and visitor attractions.
“We’re eagerly anticipating the return of the Championships to the county in 2020."
Gael Pollitt, Chair of Scotland’s Golf Coast, said: "These figures are very encouraging for East Lothian and the benefit is not restricted to just the days of the Championships. The legacy of these events and the world wide TV exposure they received is now benefiting both the golf courses on 'Scotland’s Golf Coast' and the accommodation providers with more visiting golfers recognising the quality and value for money on offer in East Lothian.
"It is also encouraging to see that the governing bodies behind the Championships are not just resting on their laurels. The 'Hero Challenge’ prior to the Mens and the introduction of ‘Ladies Day’ at the Ladies championship were met with great enthusiasm and support."
Rory Colville, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open Tournament Director, said: “It’s important that the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open has a positive impact on the local area, and we’re delighted to see such strong economic figures in consecutive years.
“We hope that these figures - alongside initiatives such as our support for East Lothian charity Leuchie House, as well as My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, and our pioneering partnership with Scottish Water to minimise impact on the local environment by reducing single use plastic - demonstrate that the event is about much more than the world-class golfing action taking place inside the ropes.”
Martin Gilbert, Chairman of title sponsors, Aberdeen Standard Investments, commented: “It’s great to see the importance that events like the men’s and ladies’ Scottish Opens play in boosting Scottish tourism and the overall local economy. As a business founded in Scotland, we’ve been proud to host both events at some of the country’s best golf courses since we began our sponsorship back in 2012. We’re looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s best players back to East Lothian when we make a return to The Renaissance Club next year.”
Paul Bush, Director of Events with VisitScotland said: “Supporting golf events is a key element of our global golf marketing activity promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf around the world. Not only have the Aberdeen Standard Investments men’s and ladies Scottish Opens delivered strong economic impact to East Lothian in 2019, they have also provided an outstanding shop window to the world, showcasing our stunning golfing assets and ultimately acting as inspiration for many more golfing visitors to come to East Lothian and Scotland.”