A NATIONAL and regional marketing campaign is planned to capitalise on the expected near-200,000 visitors to the Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Course this summer.
Research by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre showed an anticipated £90m benefit to the North West economy from this summer’s Open Championship.
Organisers The Royal and Ancient are predicting an impressive £35.1m will be spent in the area during and in the run-up to the tournament – while the lasting impact of thousands of hours of TV coverage is worth an expected £52.5m to the north west’s tourism industry.
The spending forecast is based on surveys carried out among thousands of spectators at the last two Opens and a similar survey is set to be carried out once the Open gets underway at Royal Lytham in July — the first survey of its kind to be carried out in the North West.
Coun Sue Fazackerley, Fylde Council’s cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “It is a huge opportunity and the challenge for us is to build on it for the benefit of Fylde.
“We have refreshed the Visit Lytham St Annes website and produced magazines that will be distributed across the country. In January alone the website had 14,000 visitors – and that will build as the Open gets closer.
“The Open is a major opportunity for Fylde to show its best face to the world.”
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, the R&A’s executive director of championships, said: “The Open Championship is a very exciting but enormous undertaking. Lots of people are involved at all sorts of levels and will be spending money in the area.”
Mr Cole-Hamilton is relishing being at the helm for his first Open under his current title, although it is by no means his first championship at Royal Lytham,
He has been with the R&A since 1999 and when the Open was last staged at Royal Lytham 11 years ago, he was responsible for key factors such as security, grandstands and admission.
“I have very happy memories of that championship and I am sure this year’s Open at Royal Lytham will be just as memorable,” he said.