Team Canada members swept the first rock of the 2018 World Mixed Curling Championship during the opening ceremony last October at the Kelowna Curling Club. —Image: Capital News file

Economic impact of international curling event in Kelowna was on the button

World Mixed Curling Championship last October pumped $1.21 million into B.C.’s economy

A new economic impact survey says the World Mixed Curling Championships, held over a week in Kelowna last October, brought in a total of $1.21 million in new spending to B.C.

The Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance survey, conducted by a third-party source, said Kelowna welcomed 350 out-of-town visitors for the event, 25 percent of whom were international guests.

Collective visitor spending attributed directly to the event was $630,000, with the majority of that on accommodations (82 per cent), followed by restaurant dining (13 per cent). It called the contribution to Kelowna’s local economy “significant.”

“The 2018 World Mixed Curling Championships were the result of strong local partnerships,” said Jock Tyre, general manager of the Kelowna Curling Club. “Held for the first time in Canada, we were honoured to host and have the opportunity to showcase our community to the world.”

He said the teams, coaches and support staff who took part got to see the best Kelowna had to offer.

“Ticket, food and beverage, equipment, and souvenir sales were all above expectations. Curling and the event, were completely embraced by the surrounding community and it showed in the dollars brought in.”

The report also found 67 per cent of attendees were spectators and approximately 44 percent of those attending stayed in a hotel, 67 percent travelled by airplane and 45 percent stayed between 10 and 12 days in the area.

The statistics showed the success which can be seen when Kelowna and the surrounding area hosts a targeted effort to drive year-round visitation through the attraction of major sports and events, said the CSTA.

“It is gratifying to see the CSTA economic impact report highlighting the importance of major events for Kelowna,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, CEO and president of Tourism Kelowna.

“Kelowna has a fast-growing reputation as a highly desirable host city for national and international events. The World Mixed Curling Championship is the first measurable example of the success we achieve when we offer event organizers a beautiful destination with excellent amenities, combined with community readiness and world class hospitality.”

In 2017, Tourism Kelowna established a major events strategy aimed at attracting events that promote significant new spending and increased overnight stays in Kelowna’s tourism shoulder seasons, the spring and fall.

Strong community partnerships, particularly with City of Kelowna, were established to help the bidding for, and hosting of, new events.

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