Wirral is gearing up for the eyes of the world to fall on the borough as preparations ramp up for the 151st Open in Hoylake this July.
The return of one of the world’s biggest sporting events to the borough is being seized upon to promote Wirral visitor economy.
A major campaign is running from June through to and including August to capitalise on the influx of golfing fans and visitors and show Wirral’s many attractions as a destination.
The Championship takes place from the 16 to the 23 July and is expected to be the biggest ever held in England, with tens of thousands of people attending both the practice and main championship days. In addition, many millions more will be watching from across the world and able to see the amazing backdrop Wirral provides for the event.
The Open will also see hundreds of local volunteers helping during Championship as part of the 151st Open Golf Championship Ambassadors Programme. These off-course ambassadors will welcome visitors to Hoylake & West Kirby, provide directions and offer information about the local area, ensuring the golfing fans get a warm welcome.
June and early July will see a digital online and radio campaign to target golfing audiences and locations in the run up to The Open, then aiming publicity towards the family and staycation market later on in the summer.
Digital roadside screens on key arterial routes heading towards Wirral across the north west and poster sites on regional train stations including Manchester, Preston, Leeds, and Lime Street station in Liverpool.
Additionally, there will be targeted media articles and the combination of formats will aim to reach a range of audiences across summer 2023 to make sure people see, hear, and read about Wirral.
Chair of the Tourism, Communities, Culture & Leisure Committee, Cllr Helen Cameron, said, “With hundreds of thousands of people attending The Open in July, this is an obvious and unmissable opportunity to capitalise upon.
“Wirral will welcome many visitors from the UK, as well as those who have travelled a long way and a large number may well have never been here before. We will also have a significant media presence from across the world here for over a week.
“And it’s not just golf fans, but the widespread attention this Championship will focus on Wirral means we have exceptional chance to put Wirral in the national and international spotlight.”
In 2014 when Wirral last hosted The Open and Rory McIlroy won the iconic claret jug, the international media coverage of the event had resulted in a tourism promotion benefit of £52.2m according to a report to the council’s cabinet following the event. There had been over 5,400 hours of television coverage of The Open across 106 television channels, with a worldwide reach of 505 million households.
Based on the research of a global sports marketing company, Repucon and Sheffield Hallam University’s Sports Research Centre commissioned by The R & A, golf’s governing body, it was calculated that The Open at Royal Liverpool Hoylake had delivered a total economic benefit of £76.3m across the Wirral area and to the wider economy of the north west. In addition, approximately 6,000 people had received passes to work at The Open.
The analysis also indicated that an estimated £19.1m had been spent by over 200,000 visitors and Wirral businesses including restaurants, hotels and guest houses, pubs and shops had benefitted, during the week-long championship.
Image: Wirral Council