HOSTING the Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open this year was worth more than £5 million to the East Lothian economy, it has been estimated.

The ASI Scottish Open was held in July at The Renaissance Club for the first time – having been held at Gullane Golf Club in 2018 – and attracted 68,000 visitors. Of those surveyed, 13 per cent were from East Lothian, meaning that about 87 per cent of spectators were from outwith the county, including overseas visitors from as far afield as the USA and Canada.

Nearly 77 per cent of those surveyed were visiting East Lothian specifically for the Scottish Open.

Many visitors were staying overnight in the area and some had played golf while visiting or would return to East Lothian to play golf.

The overall net economic impact, including spending in shops and facilities plus hotel stays, is estimated at just under £4.8 million.

For the ASI Ladies Scottish Open, which also took place at The Renaissance Club in August, 8,000 visitors attended, with 18 per cent from East Lothian – 80 per cent of people from outwith East Lothian surveyed were visiting solely for the purpose of attending the event.

The net economic impact has been calculated at nearly £400,000 – lower than reported in 2018, largely as a result of lower attendances following poor weather for much of the tournament. Average visitor spend per person was £100 for both events.

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for economic development and tourism, said: “The return of the ASI Scottish Open and Ladies Scottish Open in 2019 was an excellent opportunity to build on our reputation as Scotland’s Golf Coast.

“These findings underline the significance of our golfing assets to the local economy, with events of this nature having hugely positive impacts on local businesses, boosting trade for our wonderful golf courses and golf-related businesses including hotels, restaurants, cafes and local shops and visitor attractions. We’re eagerly anticipating the return of the championships to the county in 2020.”

Rory Colville, ASI Scottish Open tournament director, said: “It’s important that the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open has a positive impact on the local area and we’re delighted to see such strong economic figures in consecutive years.”

Paul Bush, director of events with VisitScotland, said: “Not only have the Aberdeen Standard Investments men’s and ladies’ Scottish Opens delivered strong economic impact to East Lothian in 2019, they have also provided an outstanding shop window to the world, showcasing our stunning golfing assets and ultimately acting as inspiration for many more golfing visitors to come to East Lothian and Scotland.”