Portrush ‘a game-changer’

Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) chief Alan Clarke has hailed the Irish Open at Royal Portrush as one of the most successful events ever staged in the north.

According to the tourism chief, record-breaking crowds, a superbly organised tournament and a rapturous Portrush welcome for the players was a game-changer in demonstrating the North’s ability to stage major sporting events and enhance its status within international golf tourism.

Golf tourism generates on average €20 million for Northern Ireland’s economy each year and as a result of the Irish Open it is expected to rise sharply.

“Attendance at this year’s Irish Open was tremendous, with visitor numbers topping 130,000. Despite it raining almost the entire third round, more than 30,700 travelled to the course that day alone. To put that in context, European Tour events normally attract around 40,000 paying customers across the four days,” said Clarke.

“The average visitor to Northern Ireland spends around €250 per trip but with golfers that more than doubles. More people will come from around the world to play the courses the professionals respect and they will spend their money in the local economy,” he said.


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