More than 200,000 people attended the Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, last week, meeting all predictions for attendance at the event.
Even Saturday’s wet conditions failed to put a dampener on events, with crowds turning up in their thousands for the third day when the weather helped Hoylake chalk up another first*, the first ever two-tee start in the history of the 154-year-old championship.
With Hoylake and Wirral presented beautifully in mostly glorious sunshine, the area received unprecedented worldwide positive publicity, and is expected to receive a considerable boost to tourism as a result.
Another positive legacy will be the partnerships forged by inviting key business leaders and influencers as guests of Wirral during the Open, showcasing its potential as a business location to investors.
Cllr Phil Davies, Leader, Wirral Council, said: ‘There has been an unprecedented amount of positive media interest in Hoylake and Wirral as a result of the Championship, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
‘As in 2006, one of the most memorable aspects of the week has been how residents have made our visitors feel welcome. Journalists in the Media Centre who travel all over the world to cover these kind of events have commented on the unprecedented level of local interest, the buzz in the town, and how they have been made to feel part of the community.
‘I would like to thank everyone who has been part of this, the R&A, residents, businesses, and our staff and contractors, for making it such a success, and for sending our guests away happy.’
Graham Burgess, Chief Executive, Wirral Council, said: ‘I would like to echo our Leader’s comments, and thank everyone involved. I am very proud of the welcome Wirral has given our visitors during the Open, and the way our staff have rose to the challenge, particularly around making sure that roads and infrastructure worked efficiently.
‘This week has been a fantastic opportunity for us to show Wirral to the world, and I am confident that the benefits to jobs and the economy will be felt for many years to come.’
The Open championship has presented an opportunity to present Wirral as somewhere that global employers may want to do business with. The Council has been working hard to use the boost to the region’s profile to drive the economy, grow employment and ensure local businesses reap the benefits of hosting one of the largest sporting events in the world.
During the championship, Dong Energy, one of Europe’s leading energy groups, announced it had submitted proposals to expand its existing Burbo Bank wind farm. If the proposal is approved by government, Dong said it will establish a Community Benefit Fund and invite local organisations and groups to bid for funds to support local schemes.
Birkenhead-based company The Contact Company also announced that it was creating more than 100 new jobs over the next six months thanks to major new contracts with supermarket giant Sainsbury’s and digital TV service provider U View to provide customer service call handling.
Wirral guests at the Open included a range of national and international companies and organisations with a focus on the offshore energy and automotive supply chain sectors.
Businesses represented include Dong Energy Group, Osiris Projects, Solar Consulting Australia, Bentley Motors, McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover, General Motors and Toyota.
*The 2006 championship at Hoylake still holds the record for the highest attended English Open ever, with 230,000 people attending over the week.