with Alex Salmond, First Minister and MSP for Aberdeenshire East

Alex Salmond with Mitch Gaglardi, managing director of the Sandman Hotel Group, at the former RGU St Andrew's Street building in Aberdeen.
Alex Salmond with Mitch Gaglardi, managing director of the Sandman Hotel Group, at the former RGU St Andrew's Street building in Aberdeen.

Scottish Open: £6 million hole in one for North East

The Scottish Open is the first of this summer’s major sporting events that will showcase Scotland to the world. It is an incredible opportunity for the whole country, but in particular for the North East which will benefit directly from the £6 million economic boost that the Open will deliver.

With a top class field, an amazing course and wonderful scenery, this tournament is one that is circled on the calendars of players and fans alike.

It’s being beamed to a global audience and is the first regular European Tour competition to be given prime-time coverage on US network television, cementing Aberdeen’s position on the global ‘golfing map’. I’m sure that many of the big names in world golf will be looking to emulate Phil Mickelson’s success at Castle Stuart in 2013 which proved to be such an effective springboard to victory in the Open Championship the following week.

The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open is going from strength to strength, with spectator numbers up a quarter since 2011, and has firmly established itself as the European Tour’s flagship event.

Hosting the tournament is brilliant news for our local businesses, restaurants and hotels, with Aberdeen and the shire seeing the most of an estimated £6 million of spending around the Scottish Open. That’s great news for the region, for golf, for inward investment, for tourism and for the Scottish economy at large.

The Scottish Open marks a focal point for a great week in terms of investing in North East Scotland. On Monday, Canadian based Sandman Hotel Group announced it will establish its first hotel in Scotland after successfully acquiring RGU’s St Andrew’s Street building. It is set to develop a premium hotel complex, with 220 rooms, in a £20 million investment. It is estimated that nearly 80 new jobs will be created during the construction phase, with more than 150 within the hotel and restaurant once its doors are opened. This is all excellent news for Aberdeen’s tourism industry. Scottish Development International has worked closely with Sandman Hotels in their efforts to identify a viable location for their investment and will seek to offer continuing support as they grow and expand. The Scottish Government will be working throughout the Scottish Open to ensure that Scotland capitalises on the economic opportunities as well as the great global exposure for the North East.

The Scottish Open is not only the warm up event for The Open Championship, but it’s also a great pre-cursor to Scotland’s hosting of the Ryder Cup – a tremendous platform for us to showcase exactly why Scotland is The Home of Golf. The Ryder Cup is a truly massive global event, reaching more than 180 countries and half a billion homes on each day of the competition, bringing Scotland’s outstanding courses and magnificent scenery to the world. It is widely reckoned to be the third biggest sporting event in the world, injecting some £100 million of spending into Scotland.

Overall, latest figures show the golf industry is worth a staggering £1.1 billion to our economy. That’s a vast sum of money and I’m hopeful that the staging of the Scottish Open and the Ryder Cup will encourage more and more people around the world to come and play golf in Scotland.