Scotland’s national tourism and events agency has underlined its commitment to women’s sport by signing up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter in the same week that has seen the return of Major championship women’s golf on a global stage at Royal Troon.
The staging of the AIG Women’s Open in Ayrshire represents the first women’s Major Championship held globally in any sport since the COVID-19 pandemic and completes a two-week run which saw the return of top-level women’s golf to the UK following the Aberdeen Standard Investment Ladies Scottish Open.
VisitScotland and EventScotland have been long-time supporters of women’s golf and following the successful staging of both the AIG Women’s Open and the Aberdeen Standard Ladies Scottish Open in the most trying of circumstances have now formally committed to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.
Investing in women’s golf
The commitment also comes as three of the next five venues for the AIG Women’s Open are confirmed to take place in Scotland – at Carnoustie in 2021, Muirfield in 2022 and St Andrews in 2024 as well as marking almost a year since the hosting of The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, considered by many as the best-ever staging of the biennial event and one which helped elevate the global media platform for women’s golf.
The charter seeks to inspire an industry-wide commitment to develop a more inclusive culture across golf and strengthen the gender balance in the sport at all levels.
Women’s golf campaign
As well as supporting the staging of the biggest events in women’s golf in Scotland, VisitScotland also became the first national tourism industry to launch a golf tourism campaign aimed at women, with the #HerScotland campaign last year.
Women’s golf tourism is seen as a key development opportunity in Scotland with currently only 12% of all golf tourists visiting Scotland, the Home of Golf being female. Inclusive Tourism is one of VisitScotland’s key business objectives and the organisation fully supports the Scottish Government’s Inclusive Growth agenda ensuring that accessible tourism is available to everyone regardless of gender, age or physical capabilities.
Support for women
Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said, “Having both the AIG Women’s Open and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open take place in Scotland in the current circumstances has taken a remarkable effort from all involved and really underlines Scotland’s commitment to women’s sport.
“We are proud of our record in supporting women’s golf and following a decade which has seen the AIG Women’s Open hosted in Scotland on five separate occasions, the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open go from strength to strength as one of the key events on the calendar and the staging of a truly memorable Solheim Cup at Gleneagles, now is the right time to look forward at how Scotland continues its commitment to women’s golf.
“We are delighted to formally sign up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter and play our part in ensuring golf continues to make strides to become more inclusive and open to all.”
Zoe Ridgway, Assistant Director – Championships at The R&A and AIG Women’s Open Tournament Director, said, “VisitScotland has made a strong commitment to investment in women’s golf through the AIG Women’s Open and it is exactly the sort of backing that the sport needs to ensure that women’s golf can flourish. Its support of the Women in Golf Charter is another positive step towards developing a more inclusive culture within the sport and inspiring more women and girls to become involved in golf.”
VisitScotland has supported the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open since its return to the schedule in 2007 and has partnered the AIG Women’s Open since 2011. In addition to the staging of The 2019 Solheim Cup this has seen a commitment to women’s golf by VisitScotland and The Scottish Government in excess of £22 million.