The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 15 January 2009

South Ayrshire takes lead role launching
Homecoming Scotland Middle East

By: Our Economic Development Correspondent

SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL is set to play a leading role in the launch of Homecoming Scotland - Middle East.

In partnership with Leisurecorp, the new owners of Turnberry Hotel (pictured below), the Council will have a presence at the 20th anniversary of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament to promote golf tourism and wider Homecoming 2009 activities aimed to encourage people to come back to Ayrshire.

As both the birthplace of poet Robert Burns and the home of Open Golf, Ayrshire is playing a significant role in Homecoming Scotland 2009 and can boast a full calendar of events throughout the year, including signature January events such as Iconic Burns in Alloway. The 138th Open Golf Championship will take place during the Homecoming Year at Turnberry in South Ayrshire, which is due to re-open after an extensive renovation programme currently being undertaken by the new owners, Leisurecorp.

Golf is one of the top tourist attractions in Ayrshire, boasting many world class courses and indeed two out of the five Open Championship courses in Scotland. Already a popular golfing destination with United States and Canadian markets, the area has also experienced a growth in Scandinavian golf tourism in recent years as a result of the proximity to Glasgow Prestwick Airport and the proliferation of direct air links.

The attendance at the Dubai Desert Classic of Officers from the Council’s Enterprise Service provides a further opportunity to promote both golf and the wider tourist attractions of the area to an international and expatriate market that will provide a legacy for years to come.

South Ayrshire Council deputy chief executive and executive director of development and environment Graham Peterkin said: “This is a unique opportunity for us to say ‘Come back to Ayrshire’ during this year’s Homecoming 2009 and encourage as many people as possible to come and share the excitement of the Open Championships in Turnberry later this year.

“South Ayrshire has some of the best golf courses in the world, and taking part in the Dubai Desert Classic is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase just what we have to offer. Golf is a very important part of our tourism industry, and we want to make the most of opportunities to promote the area and so in turn help to boost our local economy.

“This is a one off opportunity in the Year of Homecoming to engage a significant potential market who would not primarily consider South Ayrshire as a holiday destination, to come and visit.

“This event will allow us to interact directly with golfers, business people and expatriates who can really help us to make a difference to our tourism industry and boost our economy in future years.”

Councillor Hugh Hunter and Provost Winifred Sloan have been invited to represent the Council as VIP guests of Leisurecorp in the Pro Am golf match immediately prior to the tournament, to support Paul Bush, the chief executive of EventScotland, who will launch the promotion of Homecoming – Middle East as part of his visit.

The ‘Come back to Ayrshire’ message will be given a high profile presence at the Dubai Desert Classic via a branded chalet and kiosk, and in addition will be carried on all on course advertising, display materials and a themed ‘Come back to Ayrshire’ evening. The event will also unveil the launch of the new Golf South Ayrshire website providing information on the range of courses in the area.

A charity challenge match will also be taking place, with 50% of the proceeds coming back to support junior golf development in the area.

For further information on Homecoming Scotland events in Ayrshire log on to or e-mail or telephone Jakki Ross on 01292 616143.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the annual Dubai Desert Classic, which will take place from 27 January 2009 to 1 February 2009 and be played at the Emirates golf Club in Dubai. The event forms part of the European Tour International Schedule and attracts some of the world’s top golfers. For more information log on to

Homecoming Scotland 2009 is an events programme celebrating Scotland’s great contributions to the world. In 2009 join us to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth, Scottish contributions to golf and whisky plus our great minds and innovations and rich culture and heritage. For more information log on to


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