First Minister Alex Salmond will be meeting key business leaders in Chicago this week in the lead up to the Ryder Cup and the eventual handover of the prestigious golf tournament to Scotland next Sunday (September 30).
During his visit the First Minister will be undertaking a programme of business engagements with positive announcements for the Scottish economy expected.
On Friday, September 28, he will be meeting Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and delivering a keynote speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, one of the oldest and most prominent international affairs organisations in the United States. Previous speakers have included US Presidents JF Kennedy and Barack Obama, UK Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair and international leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Vaclav Klaus.
The First Minister will attend the Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony on the course at the Medinah Country Club on Thursday, September 27 and will play a major role in the handover ceremony at the close on Sunday, September 30 when he will receive the Silver Putter which denotes Scotland taking over the tournament preparations for Gleneagles 2014.
One of the largest sporting events on the planet, the Ryder Cup is expected to inject £100m into the local and wider Scottish economy during the week of the tournament alone. In all, more than 250,000 spectators from all over the globe are expected to visit Gleneagles to watch the event, with millions more able to watch the action on television in more than 180 countries.
The First Minister said:
“This trade mission to Chicago will focus on benefiting the Scottish economy both on and off the golf course.
“In 2014, the eyes of the world will be on Scotland, the home of golf, as two great sporting events are played out across the country. The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will showcase our ability to host world-class events to a global audience. This visit to Chicago is an excellent opportunity to attract tourism and investment into Scotland in advance of Gleneagles 2014 and we’ll be welcoming the world with open arms.
“We expect the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles to generate £100m for the Scottish economy and 45,000 spectators per day will be expected through the gates.
“To maximise all of this potential, it is essential that we deliver the biggest event in the golfing calendar to the best of our ability.”
The First Minister will also undertake a number of cultural engagements during his visit, including attending a performance of the traditional music festival Celtic Connections which will showcase the best of Scottish talent free to the Chicago public to attract visitors to the 2013 event in Scotland.
Mr Salmond will deliver his speech at 1pm Chicago time on Friday, September 28 at the Chicago Club, 81 East van Buren Street, Chicago 60605.
The Ryder Cup Opening ceremony takes place at 4pm Chicago time on the Medinah Course, Medinah Country Club. The handover ceremony will take place following close of play on Sunday, September 30.
The last Ryder Cup was held at Celtic Manor in Wales in 2010 and contributed £85m to the Welsh economy.
[Newsnet notice – We would like to draw our readers’ attention to the new Radio Scotland series by Billy Kay on the history of Scottish nationalism. The first episode was broadcast yesterday and can be listened to here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mwwjx]