There’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow next year as hotels, guest houses and B&Bs in St Andrews look forward to the Open coming to the town.
Pam Izatt, of the town’s Bed and Breakfast Association, reported that following this summer’s Open: “It went bonkers.
“All the B&Bs are fully booked,” she said, “and have been for ages.”
However, it’s not a bottomless pot of gold, as providers have to make hay while the sun shines warned Mrs Izatt: “You are cramming everything into one week. There is nothing during the two weeks before the event as the course is prepared for the Open.
“The Open and university graduation periods are the only times it is busy,” she added, “otherwise we are operating at just 50 per cent occupancy.”
Patrick Laughlin, manager of the St Andrews Partnership, gave a broader picture: “We know that hotels, guest houses and B&Bs are full up .
“The unknown factor is just how many temporary providers will come forward to offer B&B for a week or two,” he added.
And even as prices for house rentals reach £20,000 for the week of the Open, the letting agencies report brisk business.
Nicki Clark of the Open Accommodation Bureau is still looking for properties to let to meet demand: “We’re looking at about 300 properties to fill the demand we alone are dealing with,” she said. “People are snapping property up now,” she added.
In 2010 when the Open was last played at St Andrews, the event brought in more than £40 million to the local economy.
This year the Fife Golf Partnership has been promoting all that St Andrews and the wider area have to offer visitors.
Partnership chairman Stephen Owen said: “We know that golf fans will come to the Open because it’s being held in the Home of Golf, and we want to ensure these visitors know what else St Andrews and the rest of Fife has to offer.”
He urged businesses to get involved with partnership initiatives to promote the area, saying that the success of the campaign depended on their participation.