31 Aug 2018
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has welcomed today’s Old Firm Europa League draws as a boost for the city’s tourism and hospitality industry.
It’s the first time both Rangers and Celtic have qualified together for the group stages of a European competition since the Ibrox club went into liquidation in 2012.
Today’s Europa League draw saw the clubs in groups with attractive opposition from accessible countries – Rangers drawing Villareal (Spain), Rapid Vienna (Austria) and Spartak Moscow (Russia), while Celtic were lined up against Salzburg (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and Rosenborg (Norway).
Glasgow Chamber chief executive Stuart Patrick said: “This is great news for the city’s tourist and hospitality trade. Supporters of most of these clubs will travel to Glasgow, as well as a large number of Old Firm supporters from outside Scotland. It’s a big boost for hotels, restaurants and bars and the leisure and hospitality industry in general.
“Celtic have continued to qualify for Europe in Rangers’ absence from the top level, but the fact that both are now back playing at this level is important for Glasgow – with a total of six home games, three each, over the next few months.
Patrick pointed to a past report by the Fraser of Allander, still the only such investigation into combined impact of the Old Firm on Glasgow’s economy.
He said: “The report attempted to quantify the combined impact of the Old Firm football clubs on the economies of Glasgow and Scotland for the year to end June 2004. It identified the new money brought into the local economy by the presence of the Old Firm and the impact of expenditure switching as supporters channel their consumption into football-related services and commodities.
“The net impact on the Glasgow and the Scottish economy of a successful Old Firm comprises a combination of the direct activity in the clubs, sports tourism and other expenditure associated with attending the matches.
“The report was obviously published some time ago, but the message is the same – that the sectors that most benefits from the presence of the Old Firm in the Glasgow and Scottish economy is the hotels and restaurants and transport sectors – with, at the time, over 2650 jobs and £42.7 million of additional value added in Scotland supported in these two sectors alone by Old Firm-related activity.
“These figures cannot be ignored and show the importance of both sides of the Old Firm being healthy and in competition.
“Let’s hope they both qualify from these European groups and that there’s more to come.”