Open Golf Championship 'worth £77m to Kent economy'

image captionDarren Clarke with the Claret Jug following his victory at Sandwich

The Open Golf Championship in Sandwich this year was worth about £77m to Kent, researchers have said.

A study commissioned by R&A (Royal & Ancient Golf Club), which runs the Open, was carried out by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said Kent had a direct economic boost of just under £25m, and the television exposure was worth more than £50m.

He said TV coverage reached nearly 500 million homes worldwide.

"That television exposure for east Kent and the whole area is worth a fortune in terms of future for the tourist industry and hopefully for inward investment too," he said.

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter said the Open was the largest sports event the county had hosted in recent years.

'Traffic difficulties'

He said: "It boosted the profile of the area nationally and internationally, which should help in our efforts to secure inward investment, tourism and jobs."

Mr Dawson said there were some traffic difficulties caused by large numbers of people arriving by train and delays at level crossings.

R&A officials and Kent authorities were planning transport improvements for a return of the Open, he said.

He said the championship was played at nine venues in England and Scotland and on average was hosted by each venue every 10 years.

More than 180,000 spectators attended the four-day event in July. It was won by Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland.

Southeastern rail firm said 37,000 people travelled on high-speed trains from London and airline Flybe reported a 70% increase in bookings at Manston's Kent International Airport.

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