31 May 2024

Tourism NI hosts Amgen Irish Open industry engagement event as build up to DP World Tour tournament begins

Tourism Northern Ireland has brought together key stakeholders and local businesses from the Northern Ireland tourism industry to showcase the exciting opportunities to get involved in the 2024 Amgen Irish Open.

Photo Caption: (L-R) Kevan Whitson, Head Professional and Golf Operations Manager at Royal County Down golf club; Cllr Valerie Harte, Chairperson of Newry Mourne & Down District Council; Paul Gillmon, Championship Director of the Amgen Irish Open from the DP World Tour; Siobhan McGuigan, Head of Events at Tourism Northern Ireland.

The tournament, which takes place at the world class Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Co Down from 11-15 September, will bring some of the top golfers in the world to Northern Ireland.

At the Slieve Donard Hotel this week, over 90 representatives from local businesses joined Tourism NI, Newry Mourne and Down District Council, Royal County Down Golf Club, DP World Tour, and the NI Fire & Rescue Service to discuss how best to maximise the business opportunity offered by the tournament.

The businesses in attendance were advised of plans for marketing, accommodation certification requirements, transport and traffic, briefed about expected quality and fire safety standards, and found out how they could get ready to welcome visitors to the tournament.

Siobhan McGuigan, Head of Events at Tourism Northern Ireland said:

“Northern Ireland is truly made for golf, and we have a big year ahead of us with the Amgen Irish Open coming to Royal County Down this year and the 153rd Open Championship returning to Royal Portrush in July 2025. Tourism NI is a proud partner of both events.

“Northern Ireland is famed for its 19th hole hospitality, and we want visitors not only to enjoy the golf but also experience all that NI has to offer off-course too, including local food, drink, music, accommodation and visitor attractions. We are also known as a value-for-money destination, so would encourage our industry to apply fair-pricing principles, to encourage visitors to extend their stay, and come back to visit again.”

Paul Gillmon, Championship Director of the Amgen Irish Open from the DP World Tour, said:

“We are excited to be heading to Royal County Down for this year’s Amgen Irish Open and we are grateful to all our partners for their support in building what will undoubtedly be one of the highlights on the island of Ireland’s sporting calendar.

“The community spirit and buy-in from local people and businesses alike make this event what it is, and it was wonderful to see so many express an interest in finding out how they can get involved this year.”

Cllr Valerie Harte, Chairperson of Newry Mourne & Down District Council, said:

“The Council is proud that this year’s Amgen Irish Open is taking place in Newcastle. We are working in partnership with DP World Tour, Royal County Down and Tourism NI, and want to extend a giant invitation to people who are coming for the golf to take time to experience all that this region has to offer. There are fantastic opportunities for local tourism businesses to benefit from the arrival of visitors from across Ireland, the UK and beyond to this tournament and for it to provide a positive boost to the local economy.”

The Irish Open was first played in the 1920s and most recently took place in Northern Ireland in 2020, when it was hosted by Galgorm Castle Golf Club. The tournament was last staged at Royal County Down in 2015. Previous Irish Opens held in Northern Ireland have each generated in excess of 20,000 bednights across the region, and significant global broadcast coverage.

The day before this year’s main tournament begins, celebrities including Patrick Kielty, Johnny Sexton, Tommy Bowe and James Nesbitt will be taking part in the Amgen Irish Open Pro Am competition.

Tourism NI recently revealed that the overall value of Golf Tourism in 2023 increased to £68.2m, the highest figure ever recorded for golf tourism in NI, and well above the £52m recorded in 2019, the year which saw The Open Championship return to Royal Portrush. The increase was driven by more spend by golfers from Great Britain and North America.

The figures were published as Northern Ireland was named the Best Golf Destination in Western Europe by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).