Ryder Cup Impact for Golf Tourism in Scotland



Scottish media have reported recently on the significant impact the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles will have on the Scottish economy. While I am generally cynical of government produced figures which are often skewed for political purposes, I can speak knowledgeably about the impact of golf travel to Scotland for 2014.

Historically the Scottish golf travel season is at it’s peak during May to early September. The annual closure of the Old Course at St Andrews for the second & third weeks of September followed closely by the Dunhill Cup Matches effectively puts a soft exclamation point at the end of the busiest summer weeks.

The Ryder Cup during the last week of September in 2014 has effectively erased that exclamation point and moved it into early October. Importantly, whereas many American golfing visitors to Scotland make playing the Old Course at St Andrews their top priority, during late September attendance at the Ryder Cup supersedes the Old Course and that increases demand and availability exponentially.

While many of the attendees would like to play the Old Course during their visit, lack of access will not force them to postpone their trip.

In terms of the American market’s impact on Scottish tourism during the three weeks around the Ryder Cup, my back of the envelope math looks like:

8,000 spectators at £3,000  each which includes accommodation, food & beverage spending, gifts, transport, etc. of which a portion – 2,000 golfers spending £3,000 each on golf trips that are added onto their Ryder Cup visit = £30M UKL. Obviously not all of these funds flow into the Scottish economy (e,g, Ryder Cup tickets) but also remember this is just a portion (less than 25% of the spectators).

Air travel – 8,000 will spend on average $3,000 per ticket for various cabins on aircraft  = $24M in airline revenue. These monies are not coming to Scotland other than spend through airports, extension of seasonal airport jobs, etc.

The above math does not include non-US travelers and makes minimal allowance for corporate spending/entertainment which historically will exceed personal spending.

I would emphasize these are my best guesses based on 30 years experience and no hard facts or figures beyond reasonable suppositions.

The above is almost exclusively all “found revenue” for Scotland beyond the downstream profile benefits and capitalize on.

For once, it seems the headline number of £100M  has a basis in some kind of math!

PerryGolf is offering several packages for attending the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. It shall undoubtedly be an event for the history books!

About the Author: Gordon Dalgleish is the Co-Founding Director of PerryGolf, the leading provider of international golf vacations. You can find him on Google+