2025 Open ‘can surpass £100m-plus lift of 2019’

2025 Open ‘can surpass £100m-plus lift of 2019’

The Open’s return to Royal Portrush in 2025 can deliver an even bigger economic boost to the Northern Ireland tourism and hospitality sector than the event did in 2019, a hotel analytics expert has said.

In 2019 the tournament came with an economic lift calculated at £106m – much higher then the £80m initially forecast, but Sarah Duignan, STR’s director of client relationships, told Delicious there is every reason to believe the hospitality sector can do even better this time round.

The data solutions expert said: “The big change we saw was in the average rate paid for hotel rooms in July 2019, which was up 24%.

“The key to tapping into that lift is to get the foreign visitors that will flock to Portrush to stay longer.

“The Chinese, American and Japanese golf fans may not have the change to play Portrush that week but if we can persuade them to tie their Open trip in with a bucket list golfing holiday they will be playing all of the other great courses we have, north and south, and staying much longer – with all the massive economic benefits that can deliver.”

The Open’s return comes just six years after Offaly’s Shane Lowry thrilled record crowds by lifting the famous Claret Jug at the venue during the first hosting of the tournament at the County Antrim venue since 1951.

Sarah Duignan, STR’s director of client relationships

Tourism NI chief John McGrillen described the 2019 event as a “watershed moment for Northern Ireland”.

Speaking at the time, he said: “Since the Good Friday Agreement we’ve probably struggled to shake off impressions of the place that have been built up over four decades.

“But the fact the R&A have come here and had the confidence to bring a world class event, and the coverage that has had, will change people’s perceptions of this place forever.

‘Distinctive golf tourism brand’

“This has galvanised the whole of Northern Ireland but a local winner, regardless of what side of the border he comes from, has been very well received.”

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A, which runs the tournament, said: “The Open in 2019 was a massive success and showed just how much collective enthusiasm, passion and commitment there is to make Royal Portrush one of the leading venues for the Championship and to build a distinctive golf tourism brand for Northern Ireland.”

The Open generated more than £100 million for the economy of Northern Ireland two years ago, attracting a record attendance for the Championship outside of St Andrews of 237,750 fans throughout the week.

A study by the sports Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University on behalf of the R&A, in partnership with Tourism NI, the 2019 event delivered an economic benefit for NI of £45m and a destination marketing benefit of £61m. Giving a total economic benefit of £106m.

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