STAGING the Ryder Cup clash between Europe and America at Gleneagles next year represents a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for Perthshire.
And the biennial clash between the top golfers on both sides of the Atlantic could provide a massive £25 million boost to the local economy, according to a report being presented to next Wednesday’s meeting of Perth and Kinross Council.
The Ryder Cup will attract a crowd of 45,000 to the venue each day and will watched by a global television audience of 600 million. The staging of one of the world’s biggest sporting events is also expected to attract about 250,000 people from 75 different countries to the area next year.
Councillors will be told next week that plans are already being drafted to capitalise fully on the legacy provided by the hosting the 2014 Ryder Cup which will be held from 26 to 28 September 2014.
Keith McNamara, the council’s head of environmental and consumer services, states in a report to councillors: “The Ryder Cup at the Gleneagles Hotel presents a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the council to be involved in an extraordinary international event. Added to the Commonwealth Games and the Homecoming, the opportunities for celebrations and legacy benefits are unprecedented.
“The economic benefits from the Ryder Cup are significant. For the 2010 Ryder Cup, there was an estimated £82m tangible benefit to Wales for hosting the event. For 2014, the estimated benefit is predicted to be £100m for Scotland. A specific figure for the potential economic benefit to Perth and Kinross is not available at this stage, but previous studies of the impact of the Open Championship on the host region, undertaken by the Sport Industry Research Centre, suggest an economic impact of £25 million. “
But Mr McNamara also warns: “With an estimate of over 250,000 visitors during the Ryder Cup event week, and with build/take down operations due to last from July to November 2014, there is a potential risk of some inconvenience for the local community. There are also potential impacts for residents and businesses around the Park and Ride sites at Kinross and Perth.
“Through its Community Engagement Strategy, the council is committed to engaging with people across the area to ensure that residents and service users have a greater say in services which affect them. The overriding objectives of the Community Engagement Strategy are to ensure a secure event, with minimum disruption to the local communities, as well as ease of access and a warm welcome for all visitors to the Ryder Cup.
“With a large crowd in an outdoor setting, risks such as collapse of temporary structures, fire, and security threats are at the forefront of the multi agency planners` considerations.”
He continues: “From an operational perspective, the Ryder Cup is being approached with some confidence in view of the council’s -and local multi agency partners - substantial experience of large scale international events such as the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in 2005, and 17 years of T in the Park, which draws a daily audience of 85,000 people.”
Nationally there are plans to generate a lasting social, economic, and sporting legacy from a number of events taking place in Scotland next year - the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and associated Queen’s Baton Relay, Homecoming 2014 and the 2014 Ryder Cup.
To feed into the national plan, the council has drawn up its own legacy protocol which includes plans to to “maximise ecological protection” across the Gleneagles venue, a Ryder Cup Educational Resource,
and a new link road to provide access to Gleneagles Station.
A council spokesman said: “Community engagement is vital to ensuring a successful 2014 Ryder Cup. A Community Engagement Strategy has been put in place to ensure that local people have a say in the organisation of the event, and that disruption is kept to a minimum. Communities will be encouraged to celebrate the 2014 Ryder Cup, and a unique programme of events, competitions, public art, floral displays, , street decorations and other activities are planned for the period leading up to the event.”
The proposals include golf buggy tours of Perth, a 9 or 18 hole crazy golf trail through Perth city centre, and costumed 1920/30 style golf characters in the city centre promoting events in and around Perth
Councillor Ian Miller, the leader of the council, said today: “The 2014 Ryder Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Council to be involved in an extraordinary international sporting event. Added to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Homecoming, 2014 provides our area with opportunities for celebrations and legacy benefits that are unprecedented.
“We are working extremely hard as a Council, alongside our partners, to ensure that there is a lasting economic, social, cultural and sporting legacy for Perth and Kinross left by hosting this huge event.”