Hopes are high that Helensburgh and Lomond will enjoy an economic boost as thousands flock to the European Championships in Glasgow.

The multi-sport event, bringing together some of Europe’s top sportsmen and women, started this week, putting the city and surrounding area on a global stage.

Described as a new era in world sport, Glasgow has teamed up with Berlin to host these inaugural championships, creating a potential television audience of up to 1.03 billion over 11 days.

And one of the key events will throw the spotlight on Loch Lomond which is hosting the European open water swimming championships on August 8, 9, 11 and 12.

All the swimming events will use a 2.5km lap course on the loch, with the start, lap turn and finish all located within Drumkinnon Bay at Balloch, creating a natural stage for spectators and broadcasters to enjoy the action.

Also on August 11, Balloch will host a free family friendly event, bringing together a range of local artists, community groups and international performers.

Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce are confident that local businesses will share in the economic spin-off the games will bring.

A spokesperson said: “Given the area is within easy reach of Glasgow and surrounding areas, we are confident that spectators and competitors may come and stay in Helensburgh and Lomond for the duration of the games.

“We have many places of interest and that, coupled with excellent accommodation, dining and shopping facilities, makes it an unique area for people to come and enjoy what we have to offer.”

Meanwhile, Damon Scott, chief executive of the neighbouring Dumbarton Chamber of Commerce, expressed the same optimism that having the championships in the region would be a fantastic boost for the area and a real opportunity to build on the legacy left by the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He said: “Media coverage of sporting events has major economic impact with the events coverage reaching a global audience whilst the influx of competitors and spectators will also raise the profile of Dunbartonshire and generate millions of pounds of spend for businesses across the region.

“These events always leave a legacy both economically and through increasing interest in sport – especially coming on the back of a British win at the Tour de France.

“Bike shops in Wales have been selling out of stock as a result of Geraint Thomas’ historic win so clearly there are real opportunities to benefit from having the region aligned with international sporting events.

“It is expected that the European Championships will reach a global audience of one billion so it is fantastic that the iconic Loch Lomond will be showcased to the world in West Dunbartonshire with the open water swimming.

For details on all the Glasgow 2018 events, go to www.glas gow2018.com.