Tourism NI says Open may be worth £100m to economy

Success of Portrush event leads agency to believe increase in golf tourism possible

Offaly native Shane Lowry with the Claret Jug following his hugely popular success at Portrush. File photograph: Getty

Offaly native Shane Lowry with the Claret Jug following his hugely popular success at Portrush. File photograph: Getty

 

Northern Ireland could enjoy an economic benefit worth an estimated £100 million (€110 million) from hosting the 148th Open at Royal Portrush, according to Tourism NI, which has revised up earlier economic estimates following the sell-out event.

The agency also believes that the success of the event, which was the first Open to sell out, and the biggest Open event to be held outside St Andrews, will help it hit targets of growing the value of golf tourism in the North to £50 million by next year.

The number of golf visitors to Northern Ireland has grown to about 125,000 each year according to latest industry figures. And it is estimated the average spend of a visitor on a golf holiday is now worth around £2,228 to the economy.

Chief executive of Tourism NI John McGrillenbelieves the Open has been “ground breaking” for the tourist economy in Northern Ireland and will help to create new opportunities for local businesses – and not just the North’s 95 golf clubs – “in the decades ahead”.

An estimated 237,750 spectators attended the Open, which was won by Offaly native Shane Lowry.

Broadcast coverage of the championship also reached 600 million households across the globe, according to Tourism NI.

Mr McGrillen believes that because Northern Ireland delivered for organisers Royal Portrush will remain on the Open radar.