The Open at St Andrews is on track to deliver an £80 million benefit for the Scottish economy, it was announced today.
First Minister Alex Salmond outlined the findings of a forecast measuring the economic benefits of the event on the first day of play at the Old Course. Experts at the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University are conducting the research which has been commissioned by the R&A and EventScotland.
It shows that The Open is expected to generate £35 million for Scotland in visitor spending and £45 million in place marketing effect through over 3,000 hours of global television coverage, a 35 percent increase on last year's event.
At the same time, VisitScotland says it is confident of strong international golf tourism numbers this year. Leading US based golf tour operators have reported that 2010 sales for Scotland up to June have risen 49 per cent against the same period last year.
During a trade mission to China last week, the First Minister stepped up the drive to attract more Chinese golf tourism with the launch of the first dedicated Scottish golf brochure. Initial reports from Chinese tour operators show they are expecting to exceed their revenue targets from Scotland tours following the visit.
Mr Salmond said: "This is a great time for golf in Scotland. As one of the world's greatest golfing nations and the home of the game, our fantastic courses and scenery continue to provide a draw for visitors across the globe.
"Hosting The Open at the prestigious Old Course on the 150th anniversary of the event could bring in £80 million for the Scottish economy. As the only major staged outside the US, this world class championship is the jewel in the crown of our sporting calendar and continues to ensure Scotland shines on the world stage.
"Following on from last week's Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, as we gear up to towards staging five Women's Open Championships over the next decade and hosting the Ryder Cup in 2014 we have a fantastic story to tell.
"The Scottish Government invests £500,000 in clubgolf, our national junior golf programme, where we are introducing record numbers of young people to the game, with an estimated 41,000 children in P5 set to benefit this year. We are also investing £1 million to support Scotland's most talented amateur players make the transition to the professional game."
The Sport industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University was commissioned by the R&A and EventScotland to produce a forecast and a programme of research to measure the Economic impact of the 2010 Open Championship at St Andrews.
The economic impact figure of £35 million has been derived using industry recognised best practice following the eventIMPACTS.com methodology.
The £45 million figure is driven by a forecast 3,000 hours of coverage, that is a 35 percent increase on the 2009 Open.