The staging of The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles has provided a boost not only for tourism businesses in Perthshire, but throughout Scotland.
One golf club in Angus estimates that it will have raked in around £15,000 a day during the week of the major golf event, while another club in Ayrshire says its visitor numbers have shot up almost 75 per cent compared to the same period last year.
VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation, has welcomed news that accommodation providers, transport operators and airports are also reporting an increase in business as a result of the golfing showdown between Europe and the United States, which was won by Europe on Sunday (28 September).
Colin McLeod, Golf Services Manager at Carnoustie Links, said the club had introduced “twilight tee times” for the first time in order to meet demand.
“Because the sun starts to set about 7pm, our last tee times at this time of year are usually at 2pm, but these slots were filled up a year ago,” he explained.
“But, in order to give people a taste of golf at Carnoustie, we introduced later tee times at a reduced rate. I think The Ryder Cup is a fantastic opportunity for us and we have been welcoming around 120 golfers a day this week, generating about £15,000 a day.
“Those coming to watch The Ryder Cup are more likely to take caddies and buy from the pro shops. So the money doesn’t just come into Carnoustie, but it also goes to the caddies. It’s a massive win for the economy.”
Gailes Links Golf Course in Ayrshire, meanwhile, has this month seen a 74 per cent increase in visitor numbers compared to September last year, with the vast majority of additional bookings coming through tour operators dealing with visitors from the United States and Europe.
Nearby Glasgow Airport says its passenger numbers between 24 and 29 September – the week of competition – were up 5 per cent compared to the same period last year.
A number of airlines, including US Airways and United Airlines, reported an increase in demand for international seats, while KLM and Icelandair added extra capacity on flights throughout September in response to strong demand from the North American market.
There was an increase in demand for domestic services from airlines including easyjet and British Airways.
Francois Bourienne, Glasgow Airport’s Commercial Director, said: “The Ryder Cup is a huge draw for international visitors from Europe and across North America, and it is no surprise that a number of our airlines are experiencing an increased in demand for seats this month, particularly in first and business class.”
Edinburgh Airport has announced departure figures for the last day of The Ryder Cup as being just under 20,000, while yesterday (Monday 29 September) saw just over 20,000 visitors fly from Scotland’s capital. This is a notable increase on the 15,321 passengers who departed on 27 September.
Scotrail, meanwhile, said it expected to carry up to 7,500 people a day to The Ryder Cup.
And it’s not just Perthshire accommodation providers who have been celebrating an influx of visitors over the past week, with occupancy at Fairmont St Andrews at 100 per cent during the week, and Gleddoch House Golf Hotel and Spa, Renfrewshire, at 97 per cent over the weekend.
In Edinburgh, The Balmoral has been welcoming guests from all over the world as a result of The Ryder Cup.
A spokesperson for the hotel said: “We have welcomed visitors from North America, Asia, Africa and Europe to The Balmoral this week, specifically as a result of the Ryder Cup. Many of our private rooms have been booked for celebrations, meetings and events linked to the occasion. There is certainly an air of excitement in the hotel this week and we are delighted to be part of it.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “The 2014 Ryder Cup has represented tourism businesses throughout Scotland with a magnificent opportunity to capitalise on one of the biggest sporting events ever held in this country. I am delighted to see that so many businesses, including golf clubs, accommodation venues, airports and transport providers, are reporting such excellent figures. I am sure that they will continue to reap the benefits of the global exposure presented by The 2014 Ryder Cup long after the event is over. Our objective was to take the concept of The Ryder Cup to a higher level, to make it about the whole of Scotland, to exceed every expectation for our international and UK visitors and we’ve certainly achieved that.”
Notes to Editors:
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to www.visitscotland.com
- The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
- For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to www.visitscotland.org/about_us/our_focus/annual_report.aspx