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Wirral and the North West receive major boost from The Open

7th November 2014

Categories: News

The 2014 Open Champion Rory McIlroy with the Claret Jug (Image by R&A)
Rory Mcilory Champion of The Open at Hoylake, Wirral, 2014

The positive economic impact of Wirral hosting The Open has been revealed in an independent report presented to Wirral Council’s Cabinet.
 
Research commissioned by The R&A calculates that The Open at Royal Liverpool delivered a total economic benefit of £76.3m across the Wirral Council area and to the wider economy of the North West.
 
£19.1m was spent by over 200,000 visitors with Wirral businesses including restaurants, hotels and guesthouses, pubs and shops all benefitting during the week-long championship.
 
International media coverage of the event resulted in a tourism promotion benefit of £52.2m, based on the marketing of Wirral as a desirable travel and investment destination.
 
There were over 5,400 hours of television coverage of The Open across 106 television channels, with a worldwide reach of 505 million households.
 
Cllr Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council said: “The Open was an opportunity for Wirral to promote itself to a global audience, and it was equally important for us that local people saw real, tangible benefits to hosting the event. During this year’s Open, over 200,000 people saw Wirral’s natural beauty, they shopped and ate in our towns, and viewers across the globe saw what we have to offer. The organisation was exceptional and we look forward to hosting the Championship again.”
 
Announcing the research findings The R&A’s Executive Director – Championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, said: “The Open attracts global television coverage which delivers a substantial tourism promotion impact to the area in which it is held. We had great crowds at Hoylake to witness Rory McIlroy win the Claret Jug for the first time this year and we are very pleased that the Championship delivered such strong commercial benefits for local businesses and the economy of the North West”. 
 
Graham Burgess, Chief Executive of Wirral Council said: “This year’s Open is a success story, and a case study of how to run a major international sporting event. Wirral gets a double benefit from The Open as key tourism related businesses get a payback on investment immediately following the Championship, and golf tourism locally gets a reputational boost from hosting such a prestigious sporting event over the long term.”
 
The Open is regularly staged in the North West and in a 12-year period, 2006 to 2017, the Championship will have visited the region on five occasions, Royal Liverpool at Hoylake (2006 and 2014), Royal Lytham and St Annes (2012) and Royal Birkdale (2008 and 2017).

The R&A commissioned global sports marketing company Repucom and Sheffield Hallam University’s Sports Research Centre to carry out independent research into the event’s impact.
 
Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University carried out 1,500 spectator interviews at The Open at Royal Liverpool to calibrate their findings.
 
The Open ran from 13th to 20th July.
 
Ends
 
Notes to editors:
 
The Open is golf’s oldest championship. Played since 1860 on iconic British and Irish links courses, it is the game’s most international Major Championship with qualifying events on every continent. For one week each year, the pursuit of the famous Claret Jug trophy is the focus of the sporting world, followed globally by millions of fans.
Staged by The R&A, The Open delivers an annual economic benefit of up to £100 million to its host region, while the Championship’s commercial success supports the development of the game, worldwide.
 
More information on The Open can be found at TheOpen.com
 
R&A research headlines:
 
• Over 202,000 visitors attended

• Wirral’s specific economic impact was £19.1million

• Total economic impact was £76.3million (i.e. Media / TV benefit - £52.2million and NW benefit - £24.1million)

• Global sports marketing company, Repucom sampled over 5,400 hours of Open Championship television coverage in 2014 across 106 television channels, with a worldwide reach of 505 million households to calculate the Championship’s destination marketing benefit.

Wirral Council Tourism findings:

• Visitor satisfaction was rated “very good” for the following:
 
Overall enjoyment - 94%
Public transport – 92%
Quality of the event, Staff and the Event organisation – all 91%
 
• 83% of visitors said they are likely to return to Wirral
• 52% attended for the first time
• Over 62% were between 35 and 64 years old (i.e. almost 45% between 45 and 64)
• 79% were male and 21% female
• 43% travelled by car and 38% by train
 
• The Council’s Tourism team worked with colleagues at Wirral Metropolitan College and Merseylearn at Merseytravel to deliver a number of “WorldHost” training programmes to encourage and support Wirral’s tourism businesses in anticipation of welcoming tens of thousands of visitors to Wirral. Over 250 business men and women attended the workshops from across the borough.
 
• Following the invitation from The R&A to The Open in Scotland in July 2013, the Council’s Tourism team promoted the peninsula’s visitor offer to the tens of thousands of visitors attending, in preparation for the return of The Open to Wirral this year. Over £100,000 of accommodation enquiries were taken from the golf enthusiasts attending during the week, and these provisional bookings were distributed throughout Wirral’s accommodation providers.
 
• The Council’s Tourism team staffed The R&A’s pre-Open event in Liverpool One, during the week before The Open in Wirral, to help encourage an uptake in playing golf on Wirral’s courses as well as eating and staying locally. Members of the Wirral Tourism Business Network were also invited on the Wirral visitor stand to promote Wirral’s wider tourism offer including accommodation, attractions, and food and drink.

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