Fylde coast celebrates Open golf boost

Tourism managers on Lancashire's Fylde coast are celebrating the prospect of a £20m surge in visitor spending following the announcement that the Open Championship is to return to Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2012.

It will be the eleventh time that the Lancashire links has hosted the prestigious golfing event, with the most recent being in 2001.

The North West hosted the successful 2006 Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake and is set to host the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale near Southport.

Mike Wilkinson, chief executive of Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, said: "This is great news for tourism on the Fylde Coast and across Lancashire. With around 250,000 spectators expected at these championships, we are probably looking at a combined visitor spend of around £20m when you consider admission costs, meals bought, accommodation booked and shopping undertaken in the area.

"This will significantly add to the £171m already coming in to the Fylde Borough visitor economy each year as well as help push up the £2.45bn figure that currently makes up the Lancashire and Blackpool visitor economy."

The region's golf courses are promoted internationally through the ongoing England's Golf Coast marketing campaign, sponsored by the North West Development Agency, which aims to build on the existing £10m annual economic impact golf has on the local economy.

Cllr John Coombes, leader of Fylde Borough Council, said: "At one time the Open Golf Championship would come back to Royal Lytham & St Annes on a rota basis, but times change and now each course and the surrounding area must make a very strong case and provide excellent facilities in order to secure the tournament.

"Everyone who has worked with the Royal and Ancient and who has driven up the standards of facilities in the area in order to secure this fabulous prize is to be congratulated – particularly the staff at the course.

"The council and our local partners have also worked hard to ensure our recent regeneration efforts and unique offering has been well represented and clearly the hard work of all concerned has paid off."

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