BUSINESS leaders in St Annes have vowed to make sure the opportunities presented by next year’s Open Golf Championships are leapt upon.
Arnold Sumner, co-ordinator of St Annes Chamber of Trade, said the spotlight had to fall on the town for it to get the full benefit of the event’s publicity.
He added: “Things are going very well in the town centre at the moment, and the golf gives us the chance to sell ourselves to the world.
“It sounds parochial but we have to make sure people know this is St Annes and not Lytham as in the name.
“We want the commentators to be saying that, but not to the detriment of Lytham.”
Paul Lomax, owner of Anton’s Cafe Bar in Park Road, St Annes, said he was determined to make the most of the worldwide audience.
He added: “The Open is definitely going to put us on the map and hopefully we’ll get visitors who will come back again and again afterwards.
“We’re investing in new seating outside and we’ll be putting on new menus and cocktails while The Open is here – we’ve got big plans for it.”
The town centre has seen improvements made to Park and Orchard Roads in time for the competition.
The Square was further boosted by the arrival of Tesco, in premises left by Booths, and new independent retailers have opened.
Those new stores are of vital importance according to Mr Sumner.
He added: “If you get independent traders in doing something different, it makes your town stand out.
“We have a new shop selling hand-made candles which is interesting, and there’s Going Loco on The Crescent – the specialist model shop sells a lot online but people come from all over to visit it.”
It is estimated the Open Golf Championship will be worth a windfall of £100m to the Fylde coast, with council officials estimating a £47.5m direct boost to the local economy through trade, hotel and restaurant bookings, and more than £50m worth of marketing value.
Plans include a ‘Boulevard of Nations’ leading through the town to the golf course.