Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Open Championship Loss to Scotland

With the news that The Open will be out of Scotland for a gap of four years because of The Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games, The Scotsman's comments section had some numpty from Flakirk just simply saying "Aw. Diddums!"

Aw Diddums? Perhaps not unsuitable but certainly reflective of a lack of undestanding of the impact of this on Scottish tourism and revenues.

Zero it in yet further and look at it from an Ayrshire tourism perspective and it becomes a highly significant factor in tourism investment in the years to come. From having two Open championships a decade to having a gap of at least seven, perhaps more is of major concern to an area that is already suffering. It was always likely that Troon wouldn't get The Open Championship because of the combined effects of the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup but it was never (publicly) factored into the economic benefits of hosting them.

The idea that The Ryder Cup is now to be seen as a replacement for an Open Championship that would have been held here certainly removes some of the economic benefits for the country as a whole.

It may not seem such a big deal to aw diddums from Falkirk but with an Open contibuting anything between £10 and £15 million to the local economy and perhaps double that figure for Scotland as a whole. That excludes the television exposure and column inches generated worldwide. A single Open Championship in Ayrshire could eclipse ten years of Homecoming Scotland events.

"Aw diddums" seems a slightly strange reaction to such an economic impact...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Japan Day for Scotland? Great Idea

Seems to be a week for great ideas. Just read on the BBC website about plans for a Japan Scotland day to help strengthen links between the two countries.

Sakura Scotland has approached the Japanese Consulate General in Edinburgh about the event which is planned for the autumn, the company hopes to invite fashion students to come up with and then display clothing designs on a Japanese theme.

Now I'm not sure how this is going to be lead and what angle it's going to take but a couple of years ago myself and a colleague found ourselves arriving at the train station in Dusseldorf (if truth be known en route to a Kiss consert in Nijmegen!).

Now with kilts on (no face paint) you may have thought that we would have been subject to some rather strange looks. Nope. It was Japan Day in Dusseldrof and the whole of the city's youth was in Manga Fancy Dress costimes and make up. Made us look entirely normal.

The point however was that Dusseldorf was celebrating the culture of the largest population of Japanese in Europe and it was one helluva party. The banks of the Rhine were given over to Japanese stalls with traditional food and drinks, stages with entertainment and recitals and all in all a tremendous atmosphere of history and cultural respect with an estimated 1.2 million visitors.
One of the highlights of the traditional Japan Day is a fantastic fireworks display after nightfall, conjured up in the sky over the river by Japanese pyrotechnicians.

With the strong air connections between Dusseldorf and Scotland such a cross cultural celebration could actually have tremendous impact on restimulating the Japanese market for Scottish tourism and indeed exports.

Good luck to Sakura Scotland - would love to help if we can.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Political Candidate With Tourism Ideas Shocker!

Just been scrolling through some of the tourism articles I've missed while out of the country and really liked this one about Tory candidate Maurice Golden who's standing in the next General Election in Central Ayrshire. Okay it's worth noting that the Tories will need to overturn a 10,000 majority but the point is actually identifying genuine attainable ideas that could benefit Ayrshire tourism in both the short and long term.

According to the local paper he wants to see the area cash in on its tourism potential and has written to the Olympic 2012 organisers urging them to bring the torch to the area.

He said: “We need to play to our strengths in Ayrshire, for example in tourism where we have so much to offer. I think Ayrshire can capitalise on the opportunities presented by the Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games coming to the UK over the next four years. I have written to Lord Coe to request that the Olympic torch comes to Ayrshire and also that a Golf Olympics event is held in Ayrshire as a pre-cursor for golf becoming a fully fledged event at the next Olympic Games in 2016.”

Now you have something there Mr. Golden and we're right behind you. This October is the 150th anniversary of the first Open Championship at Prestwick and what beeter way for the BOA to recognise the sports emergence as an Olympic pursuit than an event in Ayrshire? There are a number of events taking place this year that could provide a platform. What about The British Boys Championship at Barassie - what a fantastic PR opportunity.

Tie the visit of the Olympic Torch to an amateur international Junior Golf event in Ayrshire?

The idea is both sound and attainable. Something the whole of Ayrshire can get behind - all we need now is Mr Mather, Mr Bush at EventScotland, Mr Roughead at VisitScotland and Mr Coe to push the idea forward as a way of interesting Scotland in what is still seen as London's Olympics.

We'll write the promo brief!

You know what Mr Golden? I think I'd vote for you.