Open Not All Good News For St Andrews

Business managers in St Andrews have downplayed the economic boost that the return of the Open Championship will bring to the town.

Tourism bosses have predicted that the golf tournament will bring in £100 million when it Tees off in St Andrews tomorrow, with more than 200,000 fans expected to attend.

Fiona MacDonald, who runs a guest house, said: "You get emails from years out, the way to make money is to let it out for a week rather than a per room basis. You rent the whole house out for one sum and it's up to the people coming how they divvy that out between them.

"We do get a lot of money for that one week of the open, but once you balance it out with the revenue you've lost... if you look at our end of year bank balance it's not going to be that different from any other year."

The three weeks that the course is shut before the open means that there is less tourists in the build up to the event, leaving some B&B's down up to 25% off normal month to month business.

One hotel manager who wished to remain anonymous said: "You'll be packed for the four days of the open but you can only have so many people eating in your restaurant, you can only have so many people getting into your bar because of your occupancies and stuff.

"So yes you'll be busy, but the majority of the business will all be done down at the golf course end, round the golf course. The town centre itself will be very quiet, there'll be no one up there."

VisitScotland hopes images of Scotland beamed around the globe will bring more golf fans and tourists to the country to play the game on some of the world's most famous courses.

Golf tourism is said to be worth £220 million annually to Scotland, with the hosting of The Open viewed as the "jewel in the crown''.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: "Excitement has been building for months as we prepare to welcome hundreds of thousands of spectators, the world's greatest golfers and global media back to St Andrews for The Open.

"These visitors, whether here for the day or for longer, help contribute to Scotland's economy by staying in hotels, using restaurants, drinking in bars or shopping in retail outlets.

"Scotland is the undisputed home of golf, and The Open is the jewel in the crown of what is a truly unmissable summer for the sport.

"From the Ryder Cup last year to the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Club last weekend, the world continues to marvel at Scotland's stunning beauty and our unbeatable reputation for hosting the biggest and best events in the game.

"The Open will once again show that there is no finer place for a golf break than the country that gave golf to the world.''

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