THE 2015 Open Championship in St Andrews gave Scotland a £140 million economic boost last year – a record amount for a golfing tournament in the UK and Ireland, an independent study has found.
A report, commissioned by golf’s governing body the R&A, showed spending by visitors to Scotland for the tournament generated £88 million – nearly double the £47.5min visitor impact achieved in 2010 when the event was last held at the Old Course.
The R&A brings the Open to Scotland more often than to any other part of the UK and we are delighted [it] produces measurable benefitsMartin Slumbers, Chief Executive
St Andrews, known around the world as the “home of golf”, hosted the 144th Open in July, with American Zach Johnson winning the famous Claret Jug trophy.
Spectator admissions topped more than 237,000 over the course of the event, with 93,000 golf fans coming to the Fife town to see the Open.
There were also 26,400 spectators from overseas – 28 per cent of the total, compared with 20 per cent in 2010, according to the study carried out by Sheffield Hallam University’s sport industry research centre.
More than two thirds of the total visitors and 80 per cent of those from the UK said they expected to return to Scotland within one year “thanks to the positive experience they had”, the report said.
The report on the “St Andrews effect” also estimated the economic benefit to the Fife area alone was about £52m.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the findings showed that hosting the Open, golf’s oldest major championship, had been a massive boost to Scotland’s economy as well as to sport.
She said: “We all know that golf and its origins are synonymous with Scotland but these excellent figures show that the connection between the game and its spiritual home is as strong and productive as ever.”
Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the R&A, added: “The R&A brings the Open to Scotland more often than to any other part of the United Kingdom and we are delighted that a long association with VisitScotland produces measurable and sustained benefits for the Scottish economy.”