People across Northern Ireland have answered Tourism NI’s call to provide a ‘Giant Welcome’ as 237,750 eager spectators descend on the Causeway Coast for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush this week.
From the local tourism and hospitality industry to schools, sports clubs and families, everyone has been invited to show their pride and excitement as the greatest golfers in the world, for the first time in nearly 70 years, battle it out, between July 18 – 21, for the prestigious Claret Jug over the Dunluce Links.
There is still time to get behind the Giant Welcome, as the Northern Ireland public can simply post a photograph or video on social media to demonstrate how they are supporting The Open, using #GiantWelcome #TheOpen.
The recent Visitor Attitude Survey from Tourism NI reveals that a friendly welcome helped Northern Ireland meet and exceed the expectations of 97% of leisure visitors and an astounding 95% of out of state leisure visitors indicated they would recommend it to others. Additionally, responding visitors all marked friendliness of local people and staff at over eight marks out of ten.
Lesley-Ann O’Donnell, Tourism NI Project Manager for The Open said; “With the eyes of the world truly on Northern Ireland this week, the Giant Welcome is about promoting the best of what we have to offer as a globally recognised destination.
“We already have some great examples of hotels, shops, restaurants, golf clubs and visitor attractions pulling out all the stops to give visitors a special NI welcome for golf fans and visitors alike. The #GiantWelcome provides a great opportunity to share our best and most creative welcomes to the world.”
Examples so far of those going above and beyond to illustrate Northern Ireland’s #GiantWelcome include:
Primary 5 pupils from St Patrick’s Primary School Portrush have created their very own special news report as the town prepares for the excitement of The Open
Belfast International Airport’s very own Giant, Finn McCool, has been spotted with a golf club in hand welcoming international visitors as they fly into Belfast from all over the globe
During the week of The Open, Belfast City Council has transformed the famous City Hall grounds into a putting green for all to enjoy free of charge
The Chocolate Manor in Coleraine has produced delicious white chocolate golf balls for visitors to enjoy
Restaurants such as Deane’s at Queens have extended opening hours for the week of The Open with live coverage daily
The Merchant is rolling out the green carpet to all its guests this week along with a special Afternoon Tea created to celebrate The Open
Morelli’s has created an incredible sugar sprinkles mosaic of the defending Open champion Francesco Molinari at its Portrush Ice Cream Parlour
As added incentive, the most creative posts for the #GiantWelcome will be up for some fantastic money can’t buy prizes on offer; including a professional golf lesson and overnight stay on the Causeway Coast awarding the efforts of individuals from across Northern Ireland.
Industry and tourism trade efforts will also be recognised with a prestigious trophy awarded to those displaying their most imaginative #GiantWelcome on social media.
Tourism NI will share and showcase the warmest welcomes for The 148th Open on its online channels, for more information visit: www.nimadeforgolf.com and discovernorthernireland.com/agiantwelcome
It is truly an epic year for Northern Ireland tourism as The Open at Royal Portrush will also be beamed live to over 600 million households across the world.
A team of 6,000 staff and 350 volunteers from across Northern Ireland are warmly welcoming visitors this week. The 148th Open is widely expected to be remembered by players and spectators alike as one of the highlights of the Championship's long and illustrious history.