A new tourism campaign is aiming to capitalise on the staging of the Ryder Cup and The Open Championship to make Scotland the world’s leading golf destination.
Earlier this year a report estimated that tourism around the sport generates £220 million a year and the new Driving Scotland Together strategy aims to increase this to £300 million by 2020.
The Ryder Cup is being held at Gleneagles in Perthshire next year and The Open will be played at St Andrews in 2015 and in Troon the following year.
The tourism campaign, which includes VisitScotland, EventScotland and the Scottish Golf Union, aims to promote and develop other courses and regions around the major events to encourage tourists who come for the big tournaments to return again.
Golf is said to have started around 500 years ago on coastal land around the country and Scotland has some of the most famous courses in the world among its nearly 600 clubs, including St Andrews, Muirfield and Turnberry, but it has been rivalled in recent years by the US.
Stewart Walker, chairman of industry body Golf Tourism Scotland which is also involved in the campaign, said: “There is no doubt that the golf tourism industry in Scotland already has the greatest collection of assets anywhere in the world as well as an enviable history and heritage in the game.
“What this strategy is designed to achieve is ensuring all partners involved in growing the golf tourism industry are working together in order to sell and market Scotland as the home of golf to its full potential.
“Each partner involved in the strategy brings an area of expertise to the table and together we can ensure that Scotland is known as the must-visit golf destination in the world and grow the value of the industry to the economy of Scotland.”
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing launched the collaborative strategy at Murrayshall Hotel and Golf Course in Perthshire.
He said: “Golf in Scotland has never been more in the spotlight thanks to an envied schedule of world-class events taking place at the home of golf.
“These events are played on many of the world’s top-ranked golf courses but Scotland also has many hidden gems too, giving golfers of all levels a variety of courses to play.
“These events, including the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, bring with them a terrific opportunity to highlight Scotland to hundreds of millions of potential visitors worldwide and to grow what is already a hugely important sector in terms of income generation for Scotland.
“The collaborative approach between various organisations in pulling this strategy together is exactly what Scotland’s golf tourism sector requires and demonstrates that we are all working towards one single aim: to make Scotland the must-visit destination for every golfer.”
The campaign is part of a plan to create a legacy for the tourism industry out of next year’s Ryder Cup.