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Open return be a major boost to Kent economy
July 19, 2010

The return of the Open Golf Championship to Kent, the Garden of England, in 2011 could result in more than £20 million of income for the county.
More than 200,000 spectators are expected to descend on Royal St George's Golf Club, Sandwich, July 14-17, 2011, with tens of thousands more attracted to take golf and leisure breaks in Kent in the months before and after the Open.
According to Visit Kent, which has launched a campaign to promote the county's 100 golf courses, an economic impact study by HHL Humberts Leisure after the last Open Championship in Kent in 2003 revealed more than £17.6 million of additional spending was generated in the local East Kent economy, with a further £17.4 million for the wider London and South East region, and £12.7 million for the UK.
In 2011, with a record number of spectators expected (nearly 10% more than the 182,500 who attended in 2003), plus improved rail services from London and the Continent into Kent, the county could enjoy a record windfall from the Open, with golf courses, hotels, restaurants, travel companies and other local businesses all benefiting, creating more than 1,000 jobs directly and indirectly.
Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive of Visit Kent, said: "The Open Championship is one of the most important global sports events and is watched by an estimated 100 million television viewers via 50 broadcasters around the world.
"Royal St George's is the only Open venue in southern England and the closest to London, so this is a significant opportunity for Kent to benefit not just during Open week, but in the years before and after the Championship. That's why we are working to attract both dedicated golfers and leisure visitors to take short and long breaks in Kent and enjoy the wonderful variety of golf courses we have, as well as the many other attractions the county has to offer."
The 2003 Open Championship, won by American Ben Curtis, had a significant positive economic impact for Kent, with hotels increasing their revenues by an average of 21% for the month of the Open (July), and golf courses increasing turnover by 29% on average, resulting in six additional staff being hired at each course, on average.
In total, it is estimated 112 jobs (full-time equivalent) were created directly in East Kent with a total of 1,323 jobs (full-time equivalent) created directly and indirectly in East Kent.
Kent is one of the best golf destinations in Europe offering more than 100 courses. Royal St George's is part of Kent's 'Regal Golf Coast', which includes Royal Cinque Ports (venue of The Open Championship in 1909 and 1920), Prince's (the Open venue in 1932), Littlestone (a Final Qualifying course for the 2011 Open) and North Foreland.
The county also boasts a European Tour Destination and home of the 2009 European Open, the London Golf Club, plus Chart Hills, designed by Sir Nick Faldo and ranked 82nd in Golf World magazine's Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland, not to mention many memorable courses in the Garden of England, including the 9-hole course at the landmark Leeds Castle.
"As well as visitors from America, the UK and South East England, we are seeing more and more visitors from Continental Europe," continued Sandra Matthews-Marsh. "Indeed, we have a special cooperation with the golf courses of the Cote d'Opale and are seeing golfers from both sides of the Channel enjoying the courses in Kent and northern France."
For more information about golf in Kent and for a chance to win a two-night golf break, visit

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