The biggest and best sporting, cultural and entertainment attractions could soon be commonplace in South Ayrshire, as the Council has agreed ambitious plans to bring significant and high-profile events to the area.
Aimed at delivering sustainable tourism and economic benefits to the area and initially focused on golf, a dedicated Tourism Development Fund has been established to support events which are likely to generate at least £100,000 of additional revenue to the local economy.
Working in partnership with VisitScotland, its events team EventScotland and the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism team, the exciting new development is in time to maximise the potential of the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon – each of which will generate millions of pounds for local businesses.
Welcoming the decision, Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure said: “It’s brilliant news that we have a commitment from EventScotland and the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism team to work in partnership with us to bring big events to South Ayrshire and a give a real boost to local businesses.
“South Ayrshire is the home of Open Golf and we know from the Open Championship of 2009 (held at Turnberry) and indeed from previous championships, that we have the support mechanisms, talent and infrastructure to successfully host world-class events.
“The recent Seniors British Open Championship at Turnberry is another superb success story, which saw £5 million generated for businesses, with 26 broadcasters beaming pictures of South Ayrshire to a global audience of 300 million people and this is exactly the sort of opportunity we must continue to secure.
“Looking ahead, the Open Championship in three years time is likely to yield between £35 and £40 million of additional revenue coming into South Ayrshire.
“These are outstanding opportunities for the area and, in addition to the golf, offer huge potential to capitalise on the global media exposure they attract, allowing us to position and market ourselves as a premier ‘must-visit’ international destination for golf tourism – a growth market that operates independently of tournament golf.”
The new Fund will receive an annual contribution of £75,000 to develop the event programme in different ways including:
· Direct event support and/or sponsorship
· Marketing and promotion, especially to develop overall visitor numbers
· Building the level of event yield, through promotional packages, information about accommodation and other leisure activities such as food and drink.
· Destination marketing to consumers and trade, working with local businesses and VisitScotland
· Improvement of venues and services, enhancing their attractiveness to event organisers
· Showcasing the area and future events at selected trade events
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Scotland is the home of golf, and South Ayrshire is home to some of Scotland’s most spectacular courses, from hidden gems to major Championship venues. This additional investment will further develop the golf event and tourism programme, which will help to maximise the impact of hosting major tournaments in the area.”
Chair of the Ayrshire and Arran Tourism Leadership Group, Moira Birtwistle added: “Our pan-Ayrshire tourism team recognise the economic benefits of the golf market, which offers a very lucrative return on investment, making it a sensible place for us all to start.
“Ayrshire and Arran has a world class golf offer and the sport, with all its spin-offs, forms a key part of the Ayrshire and Arran tourism strategy.
“South Ayrshire Council has a strong and successful track record in hosting a wide variety of different events and we’re keen to work together and build on these successes, to develop a premier portfolio of events which take full advantage of the fantastic scenery and local resources already on offer across Ayrshire and Arran.”
Councillor Grant concluded: “In addition to these exciting proposals, we’ll also be looking closely at other wide ranging events, assessing the opportunities they might offer and their potential impact on the area to see what level of support we can offer.
“We’re aiming high and want to see South Ayrshire regarded as one of the most attractive sporting, leisure and tourism destinations in the world.”