Thursday, March 24, 2011

EXPO 2011 - Free Members' Space

GTS has been able to secure FREE stand space for its members at VisitScotland Expo which is being held at the AECC in Aberdeen on the 13th and 14th April. Members will be able to promote their services and/or products, meet buyers and catch up with existing clients at one of Scotland's leading trade shows.

To take advantage of this fantastic opportunity, please email Lee Derrick at by Friday 25th March.

Members will also be able to display brochures on the stand. Those interested in doing so should send no more than 30 brochures to GTS's office at 29 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7RN by Friday 1st April.

VisitScotland Expo is a great event that attracts decision makers from across the tourism sector. Don't miss this golden opportunity to be a part of it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Scotland Signs Host Nation Agreement for Ryder Cup

An important milestone was marked today in the preparations for The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles when the Host Nation Agreement was signed on the 1st tee at the PGA Centenary Course by Scotland’s Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison, and Ryder Cup Match Director, Edward Kitson.

The official contract between Scottish Ministers and Ryder Cup Europe outlines the main terms, conditions and commitments agreed between the parties in relation to the staging of the event in three years time.

Robison said, “The Ryder Cup is the biggest team event in international golf, and one of the main highlights of the sporting calendar, so we are greatly honoured to be hosting such a prestigious tournament at Gleneagles and I look forward to seeing the world’s finest golfers doing battle on Scottish soil.

“With around 250,000 expected over the three match days and a global audience of 600 million viewers, this is a tremendous opportunity to show what Scotland has to offer, not to mention the huge economic benefits for Scotland.”

Signing the agreement on behalf of Ryder Cup Europe, Kitson is delighted with the planning and preparations that are well underway at the ‘Home of Golf’. He said, “We are delighted to be working closely with such supportive and committed partners in the Scottish Government, the key National Agencies, led by EventScotland, and Gleneagles Hotel, the host venue for The 2014 Ryder Cup.

“We have been impressed by the diligence of all the parties involved to gather as much information as possible from their attendance at every Ryder Cup since 2004 in order to create an exceptional event at the Home of Golf. Since last year, our plans and preparations for Gleneagles have accelerated and we look forward to cementing an already robust relationship as we head towards 2014.”

Since being awarded the prestigious event back in 2001, EventScotland - who are leading the delivery of the event for the Host Nation - along with other key partners have been observing the last four Ryder Cups to learn from them and maximise the best possible arrangement for Scotland. A ‘transfer of knowledge’ session was held in January of this year with representatives from Wales, Ryder Cup and Scotland to pass on the lessons learnt from the 2010 event at The Celtic Manor Resort.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland said, “Today’s announcement is an important landmark as we move towards the delivery of The Ryder Cup in 2014.

“Scotland has an enviable track record of delivering world class events and we’re now in a position to work with all of our partners to create a Ryder Cup which will demonstrate Scotland as the perfect stage for events.”

Part of Scotland’s commitment to staging The Ryder Cup is to create a legacy around it, including staging a range of professional tournaments but also supporting the grassroots of the game. Through Clubgolf -Scotland’s junior golf initiative which was launched as a direct result of the successful Ryder Cup bid, over 180,000 have already experienced the sport since 2003. To date, 30 professional tournaments have also been supported, generating over £20million in economic benefit to the country.

The world class calendar of competition continues in 2011 with the Scottish Hydro Challenge, RICOH Women’s British Open, Cleveland Golf/Srixon Scottish Senior Open, Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open and the Walker Cup. Scotland is committed to supporting the golf portfolio beyond 2014 to ensure The 2014 Ryder Cup has an impact far and wide.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Economic Impact of Open Championship Published

2010 study shows a £100m benefit to Scotland

Open Championship organiser, The R&A and EventScotland today announced that the 150th Anniversary Open Championship staged in St Andrews, last year, delivered a combined £100 million benefit to Scotland.

The figure exceeds an £80 million forecast by researchers from the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University revealed by First Minister, Alex Salmond visiting the Championship last July.

The headline number includes a Scotland-wide economic impact of £47.4 million and a destination marketing benefit of £52.6 million calculated from global television coverage presenting Scotland as the ‘The Home of Golf’.

The independent research study, commissioned jointly by The R&A and EventScotland, found that most of the economic impact was focussed on St Andrews and the Fife Council area, with £40.1 million income entering the local economy directly attributable to The Open Championship.

Commenting on the research outcome, The R&A Chief Executive, Peter Dawson said, “The Open Championship averages six appearances in Scotland in a ten year cycle and we are delighted that the only major Championship staged outside the United States delivers such a powerful legacy to the country recognised, the world over, as the Home of Golf”.

Reviewing the findings, Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said, “Today’s results are wonderful news for both Fife and Scotland.

“The Open Championship in 2010 was a spectacle for everyone who attended and the figures show the undisputed benefit to Scotland of regularly hosting one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.”

The 2010 study was based on 3,000 interviews conducted by the SIRC team, including players, spectators, sponsors, event staff, organisers and the media with overseas visitors to The Open from 43 countries identified by the research. Compared with findings from research carried out at the Open Championship at St Andrews in 2005 the overall economic benefit of staging the event has grown by more than 25% in five years.

Following on from this news, it was also announced today that Scotland’s key partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in relation to the staging of The Open Championship in Scotland.

The MOU has been formed between R&A Championships Limited, the Local Authorities in Fife, Angus, East Lothian and South Ayrshire, along with EventScotland and VisitScotland. Its purpose is to establish consistent arrangements for joint-working between the partners, towards the preparation and future delivery of The Open Championship in Scotland.

The collective work of all parties involved will ensure that Scotland continues to successfully host The Open Championship on a regular basis moving forward, and that the opportunities and impacts associated with this global event are maximised across Scotland.

Golf is a key economic driver for Scotland so today’s impact figures and MOU signing was well received by First Minister Alex Salmond. He said, “I am delighted that hosting this world-class championship has more than exceeded expectations and brought £100m to our economy. Scotland is the home of golf so it’s no surprise our sporting credentials, stunning scenery, first class tourism credentials and reputation as a world leading event destination have made last year’s Open such a success.

“As we journey towards Homecoming 2014, the year in which Scotland will host the Ryder Cup, the Scottish Government and our partners will continue to work together to produce the next generation of golfers, introduce record numbers of young people to the game and also to promote Scotland as the world’s greatest golfing nation.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of EventScotland and VisitScotland said, “The Open Championship is the perfect example of what Scotland does very well - stage world-class events that draw visitors from around the globe. Every golf fan wants to be at St Andrews when The Open is played, and every time it is it delivers impressive economic results for Scotland. Today’s announcement highlights once again why Scotland is the Home of Golf.”

Cllr Peter Grant, Leader of Fife Council said. “As the worldwide home of golf, Fife was proud to host the Open’s 150th anniversary in July 2010. The Open is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world and we are delighted with the study’s figures which confirm the great economic benefit the tournament brings to Scotland and Fife.

To stage successful events like the Open requires a great deal of hard work, collaboration and partnership working and we welcome the new initiative to improve on these arrangements so that the Open, when held in Scotland, will continue to be an event of the highest quality and help promote Scotland world wide as a must visit destination.”

Councillor Stuart MacKinnon, East Lothian Council’s economic development spokesman, said, “East Lothian Council welcomes this initiative as it will help ensure that future Opens are organised to maximise the economic benefits from this premier sporting event both nationally and locally. Here in East Lothian, we look forward to the welcome return of the Open to Muirfield in 2013 - it was first held at the club in 1892 - and the opportunity it provides not only to showcase the county’s unrivalled golf product but also the many other attractions that visitors can enjoy while they are here.”

David Anderson, Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council, said: “The MOU is an exciting development that will allow us to continue to deliver successful Open Championships across Scotland, giving local people the chance to see world-class sportsmen and sportswomen in action and, as we see today, bringing very real benefits for local economies. Ayrshire – the birthplace and home of Open Golf – is already looking forward to The Senior Open Championship at Turnberry next year and this latest development will further strengthen the strong and positive relationship we enjoy with The R&A and EventScotland.

“Anything that further increases the opportunities to showcase the wonderful scenery and facilities we have here on Scotland’s Golf Coast is very welcome and will provide a robust way forward for us to continue to provide fantastic international golfing events right here in Ayrshire.”

EventScotland and VisitScotland will continue to be Associate Partners with The Open Championship working with The R&A to ensure that Scotland is promoted as ‘The Home of Golf’ wherever it is played. This reflects Scotland’s historical and cultural relationship with the event, and to raise the profile of Scotland both locally and nationally as a current and future host for the event.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stuart McEwan to Leave Kingsbarns

Kingsbarns Golf Links has announced that Stuart McEwen, General Manager since early 2000, has informed the Company of his decision to leave Kingsbarns.

Stuart is proud of the international acclaim Kingsbarns has achieved under his leadership. From its opening in July 2000 it has consistently been ranked among the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World and has hosted ten Alfred Dunhill Links Championships.

“The past decade has gone by very quickly. We have a first class management team here and I’m grateful to have been part of everything they have achieved. However, from a personal standpoint, I have accomplished what I set out to do. With the tenth anniversary celebration last year and our strong involvement with the Open Championship, I feel that I have reached a professional crossroad. While Kingsbarns is a very special place to which I shall often return, I’m looking forward to the challenge of developing the next stage of my career.”

Art Dunkley, Kingsbarns co-founder and owner, accepted Stuart’s decision with reluctance. “Stuart’s careful leadership and congenial style made Kingsbarns everything it has come to be. I know I speak for everyone who has had the pleasure of working for and with Stuart when I say he will be profoundly missed. I personally thank Stuart for his absolute dedication to Kingsbarns and for the pleasure of working with him”.

Stuart will be continuing in his current role for three months while the Company arranges a successor to lead Kingsbarns into the future.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Senior Open Championship to return to Turnberry in 2012

The Senior Open Championship will return to the spectacular setting of Turnberry on the Ayrshire coastline from July 26-29, 2012, continuing the Scottish resort’s rich history with the prestigious Championship which began with the inaugural staging in 1987.

It will be the seventh occasion that Turnberry’s Ailsa Course has hosted The Senior Open Championship, the most of any venue on the roster, surpassing the six editions played at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.

The classic links hosted the first four Senior Open Championships, with Neil Coles wining the inaugural Championship in 1987, Gary Player capturing the title in 1988 and 1990 and Bob Charles lifting the trophy in 1989.

Tom Watson, whose own career is so closely aligned with Turnberry’s proud heritage, then held off the European Senior Tour’s leading career money winner Carl Mason in a play-off when the Championship returned to the Ayrshire Coast in 2003, before fellow American Loren Roberts captured his first Senior Open title in 2006.

Turnberry has also hosted The Open Championship on four occasions with Watson featuring prominently in 1977, when he memorably defeated Jack Nicklaus in what became known as ‘The Duel in the Sun’, and in 2009 when he lost in a play-off to Stewart Cink at the age of 59.

David Hill, Director of Championships for The R&A, said on behalf of the Championship: “We are delighted to announce the return of The Senior Open Championship to Turnberry in 2012, a venue that is steeped in the history of both The Senior Open and The Open.

“The Ailsa Course has provided some of golf’s most memorable moments over the years and hopefully we will once again experience the magnificent support of the Scottish golf fans, just as we did the last time The Senior Open Championship visited the Ayrshire coast in 2008 when we had record crowds at Royal Troon.”

Stewart Selbie, General Manager of Turnberry, said: “Turnberry is delighted to welcome The Senior Open Championship back to the Ailsa course in 2012. Following the success of The 2009 Open, it is entirely fitting that our next Major should be the Senior Open, a tournament which has such a strong connection with the Ailsa course over the years. This announcement confirms Turnberry’s position as a great venue for major Open Championships”

EventScotland, the national events agency, has supported the staging of The Senior Open Championship since 2005 and the 2012 event will be the marquee event on Scotland’s golfing calendar that year.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “The Senior Open Championship is one of Scotland’s most prestigious regular golf tournaments. We are delighted to see it return next year with significant benefits for Turnberry, South Ayrshire and the wider ‘Home of Golf’ expected. It is important for Scotland to maintain its support of these major events as we prepare to host The Ryder Cup in 2014 and to ensure the ongoing development of the sport on our shores.”

The Senior Open last visited Scotland in 2010 when Carnoustie hosted the Championship for the first time. Germany’s Bernhard Langer claimed his first Senior Major Championship and will defend the title from July 21-24 when Walton Heath Golf Club, in Surrey, England, is the host venue for the Championship’s 25th edition.

Golf Tourism on course to generate £300m for Scottish economy by 2020

The golf tourism industry could grow by nearly 30%, generating a potential £300m for the Scottish economy by the end of the decade, according to a new study.

The research, which included a survey of Golf Tourism Scotland members, looks at the potential growth and economic impact of the market in Scotland over the next ten years.

It found that despite the recession and continuing economic challenges, the golf tourism market has remained relatively resilient with nearly 80% of respondents expecting to see positive growth over the next decade.

The study, ‘An Assessment of Golf Tourism’s Future Growth Potential to 2020’, was commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise with support from Visit Scotland and Golf Tourism Scotland.

It aims to provide a better understanding of the scale of opportunity within the golf tourism market and its size to help identify new opportunities, lead to business growth and increase income and employment across Scotland.

Eddie Brogan, director of tourism, Scottish Enterprise, said: “Golf tourism offers huge possibilities for the Scottish economy and this study gives businesses real ideas of how to maximise this potential. But to achieve the predicted growth rate of nearly 30%, public and private sectors need to work closely together to identify and take advantage of the opportunities available.

"Many other countries are developing golf tourism with the aim of raising their market share, and despite Scotland's accolade as the ‘home of golf’ we need to work hard to secure this position in the global marketplace. The quality of our courses is one of our greatest tourism assets but golf clubs need to develop a range of business skills and become much more commercially focussed as part of a customer-led approach to attracting even more golfing visitors.

"Events such as the Ryder Cup in 2014 have already led to better closer working practices across the sector, and Scottish Enterprise is committed to working with the industry to secure new business opportunities in the golf tourism market.”

According to the study, over the next ten years, the largest growth in visitor numbers is expected to come from EU countries (Germany, France Holland), from emerging markets such as India and China and the more mature markets of North America and Scandanavia are expected to experience slightly weaker growth. The UK however, will continue to be the largest market for golf in Scotland.

The research also strongly encourages golf businesses to work collaboratively to put together packages to attract visitors to Scotland. It highlights the online booking of hotels and transport and e-booking for tee times as key areas to focus on for increased growth and competitiveness. It also highlights the importance of both ensuring that the forthcoming Ryder Cup is used to help showcase Scottish golf and of communicating to Scottish companies the vast business opportunities that this event will bring.

Other key findings include:
There are opportunities to encourage more golf ‘staycations’ in the UK, encouraging UK residents to take golf holidays in the UK instead of abroad;

The 70 most visited courses in Scotland generate 75% of all the staying visitors’ green fees;
The new Trump course at Balmedie, opening in 2012, will generate global interest and provide huge opportunities for local businesses.

Tourism Minister, Jim Mather, said: "Scotland is the home of golf, boasting more than 500 courses - from world renowned championship links to hidden gems dotted across breathtaking landscapes – and providing a unique selling point that attracts thousands of visitors every year from across the globe.

"As this research identifies, golf tourism is a rich asset, making a valuable contribution to Scotland’s economy and carrying huge potential for future growth.

"It makes strong economic sense for Scottish tourism to work hard to boost global interest in our links to the sport, and in Scotland as a world leading active destination.

"That is exactly what we are delivering through our focus in 2011 on Active Scotland, one in a series of focus years leading toward a second year of Homecoming in 2014 - the year Scotland will host the Ryder Cup."

Chris Taylor, Head of Tourism, Food and Drink at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, added: "The Highlands and Islands is home to a diverse mix of golf courses, from hidden island gems to world famous links courses, and it is well positioned to take advantage of the steady growth in Golf Tourism.

“The recent announcement that the Barclays Scottish Open is to be held at Castle Stuart Golf outside Inverness, and investment by Southworth Golf in hotel infrastructure at the newly created Machrihanish Dunes, shows a desire and a commitment by the region to compete in a global market and to match the best in the world.”

Friday, March 4, 2011

Golf Tourism Scotland Forums Hailed a Success

Industry experts attending a series of landmark golf business seminars across Scotland have hailed them as a huge success. Staged at five different venues, the Golf Tourism Scotland February Forums achieved a 50% higher level of attendance than last year with delegates representing some of Scotland’s leading golf courses and businesses.

Born out of a collaboration between GTS, Scottish Enterprise, VisitScotland, Scottish Development International, Tourism Intelligence Scotland and the Scottish Golf Union, this year’s events considered how golf could use market intelligence to plan for the future.

GTS chairman Lee Derrick said he was very satisfied with the turnout and the outcome of the forums. “The February Forums were devised to give the Scottish golf industry a heads-up on the kind of information they could use to help their businesses flourish in 2011,” he said. “Well over 100 delegates attended the forums and the feedback we received was that the events delivered meaningful and pertinent advice as well as practical help. As chairman of GTS, I am extremely pleased with how the forums panned out.”

The informative sessions brought together leading practitioners in golf and tourism who were asked to provide advice that would not only motivate businesses but would also drive growth through innovation. Heading up the speakers was Mike Williamson of MW Associates.

“This series of seminars attracted a wide range of delegates, each with very different agendas,” he said. “What remained constant throughout was a collective commitment to improve our knowledge and understanding of the industry in which we work. I have to take my hat off to the organisers who have devised an inclusive, pioneering and successful series of business events.”

The series of five afternoon sessions took place during February and were open to GTS members and any golf-related companies looking to maximise profits and grow their business.