GOVERNMENT agencies are providing €1 million to support the Irish Open following the announcement the competition will be staged in Donegal next year.
The funding – €500,000 each from Sport Ireland and Failte Ireland – is part of a three year deal sanctioned by Government.
Government Chief Whip McHugh paid tribute to the work of Ballyliffin Golf Club General Manager John Farren in bringing the tournament to Donegal from July 5 to July 8 next year.
The Minister also revealed that Failte Ireland will be spending additional funds promoting Inishowen and Donegal in the run up to next year’s prestigious event which will be seen by 500 million people worldwide.
Minister McHugh said: “I am delighted Sport Ireland and Failte Ireland are providing €1M between them for the 2018 Irish Open here in Co Donegal.
“Fáilte will also be heavily involved in domestic marketing of the event.
Furthermore, Fáilte will provide a platform for the industry in the tented village at the event, where about 40 clubs will be in attendance and will be able to promote their clubs. “
Minister McHugh went on: Golf is one of Ireland’s most significant tourist activities with over 170,000 overseas visitors taking part in golf during their visit to Ireland every year, contributing in excess of €170 million to the economy.
“Fáilte Ireland is working to grow these numbers by targeting those markets with greatest potential.
“Donegal is a superb golfing destination and is well-equipped for all golfing visitors. From green parkland to rugged coastal links and everything in between, there is a course to suit every skill level, from beginner to pro, and for every budget.
“Approximately 21 per-cent of expenditure by golfing visitors is spent on green fees or other golf-related expenditure. This means that ancillary spend by golf tourists to Ireland benefits many other sectors, including accommodation, bars, restaurants and attractions.”
Minister McHugh added: “The TV audiences alone around the globe will give Ballyliffin and Donegal exposure worth more than €100 million.
“I am thrilled for John Farren, everyone at Ballyliffin Golf Club and the entire county. We can now look forward to welcoming more than 100,000 visitors to Donegal for the tournament next July.”