The economic impact of East Lothian hosting the Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) Scottish Open and Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open this year has been estimated at just over £5 million according to reports based on visitor surveys and ticket sales and using standard economic methodology.
Paul Bush, Director of Events with VisitScotland said: “Supporting golf events is a key element of our global golf marketing activity promoting Scotland as the Home of Golf around the world. Not only have the Aberdeen Standard Investments men’s and ladies Scottish Opens delivered strong economic impact to East Lothian in 2019, they have also provided an outstanding shop window to the world, showcasing our stunning golfing assets and ultimately acting as inspiration for many more golfing visitors to come to East Lothian and Scotland.”
The ASI Scottish Open was held from 9-14 July at The Renaissance Club for the first time and attracted 68,000 visitors. Of those surveyed, 13 per cent were from East Lothian, meaning that around 87per cent of spectators were from outwith the area. Overseas visitors came from as far afield as the USA & Canada.
Almost 77 per cent of those surveyed were visiting East Lothian specifically for the ASI Scottish Open. Many visitors were staying overnight in the area and some had played golf while visiting or would return to East Lothian to play golf. The overall net economic impact including spending in shops & local facilities plus hotel stays has been estimated at just under £4.8 million.
For the ASI Ladies Scottish Open, which also took place in The Renaissance Club from 8-11 August, 8,000 visitors attended with only 18% from East Lothian. 80 per cent of people from outwith East Lothian surveyed were visiting solely for the purpose of attending the event. The net economic impact has been calculated at almost £400K lower than reported in 2018 which is largely as a result of lower attendance due to adverse weather notably on the Friday & Sunday of the event.
The two tournaments, that both had a potential TV audience of over 400 million worldwide including live coverage on Sky Sports in the UK and Golf Channel in the US, not only boosted the economy at the time of the events but have helped to safeguard a number of local jobs. Average visitor spend per person was £100 for both events.
Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “The return of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open to East Lothian in 2019 was an excellent opportunity to build on our reputation as Scotland’s Golf Coast.
“These reports underline the significance of our golfing assets to the local economy, with events of this nature having hugely positive impacts on local businesses, boosting trade for our wonderful golf courses and golf-related businesses including hotels, restaurants, cafes and local shops and visitor attractions. We’re eagerly anticipating the return of these championships to the county in 2020."