The Ulster Unionist Party’s Sports Spokesperson, Leslie Cree MLA, has said that the confirmation that the Open is to come to Royal Portrush in July 2019, is a massive boost to the whole of Northern Ireland.
Mr Cree said:
“The Open is the most prestigious golf tournament there is, and its return to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951 will be universally welcomed.
“The huge success of the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in 2012 demonstrated that the course and local infrastructure could indeed handle large crowds and I have no doubt that this event will be a massive success.
“Between the 18th and 21st July 2019, the eyes of the sporting world will be firmly fixed on the famous Royal Portrush course and the television coverage guarantees that our wonderful north coast scenery will be beamed to a huge audience. This, coupled with the tens of thousands of visitors who will attend, provides us with a superb opportunity to showcase all that is good about Northern Ireland and boost our tourist and hospitality industries. Independent financial surveys suggest that staging the tournament can bring in between £55m and £70m in the year of the Open to the wider community in the venue’s area.
East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs said;
“I welcome The Open to Portrush, and I note the potential of East Antrim and Antrim Coast and Glens tourism benefiting from the golf event coming to the area. The Open visitors are often prepared to travel over an hour for accommodation. Hotels and B&Bs in Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey can expect to benefit in the lead up to and during the event.”
“The fact that Royal Portrush has been added to the rota of courses which stage the Open means that we can look forward to repeat visits, but for now the focus will be on 2019. Given that Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell have all won majors in recent years, local golf fans will be desperate to see one of our local golfers lift the claret jug on home soil in 2019. I certainly wouldn’t bet against it.”