1. ITV Report

Calls for Open to return to NI after week of success

The eyes of the world were on Northern Ireland as Shane Lowry raised the Claret Jug. Credit: Pacemaker

There have been calls for The Open to make a quick return after the success of this year’s event in Northern Ireland.

Irish golfer Shane Lowry lifted the Claret Jug on Sunday at the end of a memorable week, as the major championship was played at Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951.

Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the North Coast to watch - and tourism officials say it’s expected to generate around £80m into the local economy.

Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen hailed it as “groundbreaking”.

He added: “Along with everyone else in the tourism industry here, I am very confident that The Open will be back soon and that tourism has a very exciting future ahead thanks to how Portrush, the Causeway Coast and Glens and the whole of Northern Ireland has delivered.”

The Open attracted 237,750 spectators and visitors, and it was watched by some 600 million households worldwide, tourism officials said.

Translink said about 200,000 people used its services during the week, with “unprecedented” demand for buses, coaches and trains.

Chris Conway from the transport provider said: "We were pleased to play our role in ensuring hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed this spectacular championship and showcasing the Causeway Coast to visitors from all across the world."

Police had to deal with a “relatively small” number of incidents during the week.

These included driving with excess alcohol, low-level anti-social behaviour, and reuniting several children with their parents.

“It has been an intense 24 months working alongside the event organisers, our transport and emergency service colleagues, local government and council,” said ACC Alan Todd.

“This has very much been a team effort and we are delighted it has been such a success.”