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Scotland's golden moment

Press Release   •   Sep 24, 2014 00:01 BST

Three of the most-recognisable structures in Scotland will be lit up in gold this evening as Scotland celebrates hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world, The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

VisitScotland, the lead agency delivering Scotland’s commitments around The 2014 Ryder Cup, has been working with a number of partners, to ensure Scotland shines bright on Wednesday evening (24 September).

In the west, as the SSE Hydro prepares to host a golden line-up at The Ryder Cup Gala Concert, the incredible venue will dominate Glasgow’s skyline as it lights up in gold to celebrate Scotland hosting the best ever Ryder Cup.

The Kelpies tower over Falkirk’s landscape as the world’s largest equine structures, standing at 30m high and weighing in at 300 tonnes each and will light up in spectacular fashion as they are illuminated in gold. The mini Kelpies, which are 1:10 scale models of their larger counterparts, are also featured at Gleneagles, welcoming guests from around the world and guarding the entrance to the Spectators Village.

Completing the golden line-up, the 57m high Air Traffic Control Tower at Edinburgh Airport, Scotland’s busiest airport, will also be given the golden touch.

Symbolising Scotland’s moment to shine, The Kelpies and The SSE Hydro will be lit up for one night only while Edinburgh Airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower will stay gold for the remainder of the week.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:

“With Ryder Cup week finally upon us, this really is a golden opportunity for Scotland to shine on the world’s stage. As some of the most iconic structures from east to west light up in gold on Wednesday evening, it reflects the incredible opportunities for tourism that come with hosting one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

The Ryder Cup Gala Concert is the definitive curtain raiser and will represent the very best of our beautiful host country. With Scotland enjoying a significantly increased profile on the worldwide golfing stage, thanks to being host nation of The 2014 Ryder Cup, we must use this as our springboard, our chance to secure a legacy. I have no doubt that the expected 250,000 spectators over the course of the week will enjoy a golden Scottish welcome, and I would also encourage people to get out and explore the 550+ courses we have right across Scotland, The Home of Golf.”

Peter Duthie, Chief Executive of SEC Ltd said:

“We are delighted to be showing our support by turning The SSE Hydro gold for such an historic sporting event.

“The Ryder Cup Gala Concert is sure to start the proceedings with a bang and we wish both teams the best of luck this coming weekend.”

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s tourism spokesperson said:

“The Kelpies have helped to transform Scotland’s landscape and, through them, we are proud that the Falkirk area can help to play a role in celebrating The 2014 Ryder Cup.”

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport said:

“We’re delighted to be part of this unique event and turn our iconic tower gold to celebrate the Ryder Cup.

“The next few days will be very busy with thousands of golf fans expected to arrive from all over the world.  Our gold tower will be an amazing sight to see as they come into land at Edinburgh Airport.”

The Concert is a signature event within the Homecoming Scotland 2014 programme delivered by DF Concerts & events on behalf of VisitScotland. 

Scottish music legend, Midge Ure is set to perform his signature hit Vienna with a live orchestral backing for the first time at the Ryder Cup Gala Concert on Wednesday 24 September. The singer will join a host of music stars, including Texas, Amy MacDonald and Nile Rodgers (Chic) to perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) at the special one-off Ryder Cup opening event at the SSE Hydro.

Alongside the incredible musical offering, a main feature of the evening will be the presentation of The 2014 Ryder Cup Teams, with the USA and Europe players appearing on stage together for the first time with their captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson ahead of the epic golf showdown at Gleneagles. Tickets are on sale now and available from or visit for more information.

The 2014 Ryder Cup is returning to Scotland for the first time in more than 40 years and for only the second time in its history. The sporting event will take place on 23-28 September at Gleneagles and is supported by EventScotland, the national events agency and a directorate of VisitScotland, and Ryder Cup Europe.

The Kelpies, the SSE Hydro and Edinburgh Airport traffic control tower will be lit in gold from twilight on Wednesday 24 September 2014.


More on The Ryder Cup

  • The Ryder Cup in 2012 was broadcast to 183 countries worldwide via a network of 43 broadcasters reaching more than half a billion homes each day of competition. With the 2014 event set to top that, stunning images of Scotland will be seen by audiences right around the world, and this is estimated to be worth around £40m in direct marketing benefit.
  • Since 2003 VisitScotland has supported over 50 golf events in Scotland as part of the Ryder Cup qualifying investment programme and attended and marketed Scotland as the Home of Golf at more than 50 international events. Hosting such events not only generates millions for the economy, but they also continue to strengthen Scotland’s position as the Home of Golf.
  • Overall it is estimated that golf tourism is worth £220m to Scotland annually, supporting around 4,400 jobs. 
  • Supporting golf tournaments gives VisitScotland the opportunity to show off the incredible golfing product to the world, and with over 550 courses to choose from, encourage people to come here and find out why Scotland is the Home of Golf.
  • Scotland attracts around 220,000 golfing visitors annually, while an estimated 92,000 ‘regular’ visitors to Scotland will also play golf whilst on holiday.
  • VisitScotland is delivering their biggest ever golf exhibition stand at The Ryder Cup and will ensure a warm Scottish welcome to the spectator village at Gleneagles. Footfall is expected at around 75% of the daily attendance at Ryder Cup.

For further information contact:

Jack Gorman

Corporate Press Officer

Tel: 0131 472 2283

Out of hours media enquiries: 07699 766986 

Notes to Editors:

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
  1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to
  • The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy. 
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to
  • For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to