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Ulster University in Coleraine recently played host to Kevin McQuillan, Head of Marketing with the R&A. Kevin delivered a masterclass on what goes into marketing an event on the scale of The Open Golf Championship and the hugely significant tourism and economic impact it brings to host regions.

Co-chair of the session Dr Peter Bolan (who conducts research and consultancy on golf tourism) stated

‘We are absolutely delighted that our students have the opportunity to hear directly from Kevin on all the key elements and strategy that go into marketing The Open, which is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and that he took time out of his very busy schedule to engage in this way’.

With Royal Portrush hosting the 148th Open in just a matter of months it was a very topical and timely visit. There is huge anticipation and the event has already been a sell-out very early on, with further additional tickets also now having been announced. Expected spectator numbers could now be in the region of some 215,000 across the four main days of the tournament. Last year’s event at Carnoustie was attended by some 172,000.

Kevin McQuillan, Head of Marketing, The R&A added

‘We stage the World’s original and most prestigious golf championship which provides a celebration of the sport in its purest form. Portrush will be something truly special and we can’t wait to share that with the rest of the world’.

Ulster University Business School students on the International Travel and Tourism Management, and Leisure and Event Management courses study about the opportunities, development and scope of golf tourism and how to leverage economic impact from such an important form of tourism.

Dr Bolan further stated

‘Golf is the world’s most lucrative sports related travel market, worth the equivalent of US$30 billion. Thanks to the success of our top golfers, the quality of many of our great courses and our recent successes in staging top golf events, momentum is now building for Northern Ireland to capitalize more fully on golf as a key ingredient in our overall tourism portfolio. As such it’s fantastic to have Kevin from the R&A with us, sharing his knowledge and experience with our students first hand’.

Staff from across the University also had the opportunity to hear from Kevin in a separate insightful session during his visit and how The Open will also create a significant number of employment opportunities and work-based experiences for the student body.