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8 July 2015, 10:05
A new study is to be carried out to calculate the economic value of golf's Scottish Open.
The event starts tomorrow at Gullane Golf Club in East Lothian, before moving to Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness next year.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise aims to conduct a new economic impact study on the event when it returns to Castle Stuart in 2016 for the fourth time in six years.
A previous study by HIE, following the 2011 tournament, showed more than 51,000 spectators attended the event and helped contribute more than #5 million to the Scottish economy.
The event - sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management - is said to have grown "significantly'' since then and it has also been shown live on US television.
Stuart McColm, general manager of Castle Stuart, said: "The build-up of interest around the Scottish Open this week is a timely reminder of how important this event is to Scotland in both sporting and economic terms.
"It has grown significantly since the previous study and the new HIE assessment will provide a valuable insight at a time when the Highlands is increasingly attracting attention as a golfing destination.''
Martin Johnson, HIE area manager for the Inner Moray Firth, said: "The Scottish Open is a prestigious tournament due to it attracting some of the world's leading players in its own right and also by being played just a week before The Open championship.
"The influx of players and fans can have a real economic impact on local business, including hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and taxi firms. There are also spin-off benefits from having the host venue beamed across the world on television.''