THE senior executive at Donald Trump’s controversial golf resort in Aberdeenshire today hailed the first year of business at the new championship course as “phenomenal”.
Next Monday will mark the first anniversary of the opening of the course Trump claims is the “greatest in the world” to the international golf playing public.
The links at Menie opened to the public five days after the American business tycoon lined up alongside Colin Montgomerie to strike the first ball at his multi-million pound golf resort.
Sarah Malone, the executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links Scotland, said today that, since it opened last summer, thousands of golfers had flocked from around the world to experience Trump’s championship course.
She said: “We are enjoying a fantastic year so far with bookings coming in from across the globe. Our tour operator bookings have more than doubled as news on our course spreads. This year alone, golfers have travelled from as far afield as Australia, India, and South Africa to Argentina, Canada, USA and countless European countries.
“Tour operator interest now contributes to more than 30 per cent of our business compared to ten per cent of our bookings last year. Many golfers are already booking tee-times for 2014.”
Ms Malone declared: “It has been a phenomenal first year for us and paves the way for the development of our second course. ”
Trump’s championship links was recently voted the Best Modern Course in Great Britain and Ireland by Golf Week and ranked Best Golf Course in the World 2013 by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences
She said: “We are thrilled to have been voted the Number One Modern Course by Golf Week this month, which follows a raft of prestigious awards and accolades from the golf and leisure industry this year.”
Tour operators and local hoteliers said the opening of the course had been a major boost for the area’s economy.
Colin Dalgleish, co-founding director of Perry Golf, a leading tour operator, said: “The creation of the spectacular Trump International Golf Links has been a massive boost to Aberdeen and to the
North east of Scotland. The area is now correctly being recognized as an outstanding golf destination, supported as it is with great hotels and restaurants. ”
Stewart Spence, owner of the luxury Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen, said his hotel’s golf- related bookings were 130 per cent up compared to the same period last year.
Ronnie MacAskill, Secretary and Director of Golfat neighbouring Royal Aberdeen, due to host next year’s Scottish Open, said: “We have seen a considerable increase in visitors to Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, and there is no doubt it is down to having Trump next door.
Trump has delivered exactly what he set out to do - a sensational golf course with many visitors claiming it is one of the best they
have ever played.”
Bob Collier, Chief Executive of the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce said: “Our survey work regularly shows that over 90 per cent of Chamber members support the Trump investment.
“Along with the success of securing the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen in 2014, we now have a real strength in depth to attract international competitions along with the associated economic impact, media-exposure and awareness building.”
Trump has made no secret of his aim of attracting the Open Championship to Menie at some point in the future. The 18 hole tournament will be open to male golfers with a certified handicap 12 or less and have a total prize fund of £2000 with a £500 first prize to the winners of the scratch and handicap sections.
But amateur golfers taking part will have to pay a £100 entry fee and £97.50 if they want to play a practice round.
Meanwhile a petition to the Scottish Parliament, calling for a public inquiry into the handling of Trump’s controversial golf resort development by the Government and Aberdeenshire Council, has now attracted almost 20,000 signatures.
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