Hotels cash in on Ryder Cup fever

Katie and Fiona Darling, and David and Ian Boath. Picture: Jane Barlow

Katie and Fiona Darling, and David and Ian Boath. Picture: Jane Barlow

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Hotels have already enjoyed a super summer on the back of an incredible year for Scottish tourism.

The Commonwealth Games, the Festival and the historic referendum vote have all contributed to a bumper season – and now the Capital’s tourist industry is set for another major boost with thousands of visitors arriving to enjoy the drama of the Ryder Cup.

With thousands of spectators using Edinburgh as their base, many hotels are full and on the back of a busy year plenty have seen record bookings. Visitors are rumoured to include Africa’s fifth richest king and celebrities from all over the world.

Some will be arriving on one of the 70 private jets expected in Edinburgh Airport in the next four days.

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland regional partnerships director, said: “Due to the central location of Gleneagles, the impact of hosting this incredible event will be felt right across Scotland, particularly in Edinburgh, where we know many golf fans are staying.”

More than 250,000 spectators are heading to Gleneagles this week, about 45,000 people every day.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “Because Perthshire isn’t a big place, hotels far and wide are seeing the benefit. The central belt, and in particular Edinburgh, will no doubt see a particular boost.”

Jon Anderson, owner of holiday property firm innerCityLets, described the uptake as “phenomenal”.

He said: “The moment after people found out they’d got their tickets, it got absolutely crazy. The phones were ringing literally non-stop, and it was just email after email. Nearly all of our bookings were already done on the first day tickets were released, and the rest were snapped up extremely quickly.

“We’ve been filling those properties at premium price, too.”

The Balmoral has welcomed visitors from North America, Asia, Africa and Europe this week to see the Ryder Cup – and Osei Tutu II, king of the of Ashanti people of Ghana, is rumoured to be among the them.

Of the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel’s 156 bedrooms, 60 are attached to the Ryder Cup.

And Melissa Raffaelli, Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, said the hotel is enjoying a “busy time”, adding: “Visitors from around the world wish to combine our close proximity to Gleneagles with the culture, heritage and beauty of Edinburgh.”

City teenagers know the scorefor key roles

Four city teenagers have been thrust into the spotlight after being given the chance to walk the course with some of golf’s biggest stars.

The eyes of the world will be drawn to the junior golfers after they were selected to be official scoreboard holders at the Ryder Cup.

David Boath, 16, and Kayleigh Singer, 17, from South Queensferry, and Rory Henderson, 17, and Katie Darling, 16, from Edinburgh, were four of the handful of golfers nominated to be a part of the event at Gleneagles.

Now the teens and their relatives will be seen in the company of the likes of Rory McIlroy and local hero Stephen Gallacher as they take on Team USA.

David, who will walk the course with grandad Ian, said: “It’s a bit nerve-racking to think that many people will be watching – especially because we’ve got quite an important responsibility. But I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to go to a Ryder Cup ever again, so it’s an amazing chance to get and be able to tell your kids about over the years.”

Katie, of Ravelston Golf Club, will be partnered by her mum, Fiona.

“I’ve been looking up to these guys all my golfing life, so I am excited to be so close to them,” she said.

“Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, all these massive names – I’m dumbfounded.”

“It’s amazing walking alongside them and getting to see first-hand how they interact with their team and play the game.”

SALMOND’S £1M PLEDGE

First Minister Alex Salmond has pledged £1 million for the Clubgolf training initiative credited with introducing more than 350,000 children to the sport, to ensure Scotland was “the future of golf”.