New panel encourages growth of sport tourism
Sport tourism is rapidly growing, and we’re not just talking professional sports either. An estimated $600 billion industry worldwide, sport tourism can range from major tournaments and competitions to coaching clinics, sport seminars or stakeholder conferences. The City of Greater Sudbury has formed a Sport Tourism Advisory Panel to continue its growth in this sector and ensure that well-informed direction and structure will benefit the entire community for the long-term.
With the hosting of the 2010 Ontario Summer Games, the city made a huge splash into sport tourism. The event, which was well over two years in the making, involved more than 30 sports, almost 40 sites, roughly 1,000 volunteers and 3,500 participants. It took place over four days in August and attracted thousands of visitors from all over the province. The event proved to be a major success and clearly demonstrated the enormous potential of hosting sporting events.
“Events like that are great for the community,” said Jeff Pafford, recreation co-ordinator for the city. We want to … expand our capabilities in event hosting and sport tourism.”
Since the 2010 Ontario Summer Games, the city has played host to several other major events including the 2011 Jeux de la Francophonie, the 2011 OFSSA Track and Field Championships, the 2012 Little NHL Hockey Tournament and a 2012 Mountain Bike Ontario Cup Race. There are also the many locally generated events that take place annually — the IMPACT Soccer Tournament, Big Nickel Hockey Tournament and Silver Stick Hockey Tournament are a few of the big events, but there are dozens of smaller events as well that are organized by dedicated volunteers every year.
Already in 2013, Sudbury has hosted an Ontario Cup Cross-Country Ski Race, and we’re set to host both a Canada Cup Mountain Bike Race and the Canadian Junior Amateur Golf Championships. All are great events requiring various resources to be successful. With the help of the new Sport Tourism Advisory Panel, these resources can be allocated fairly and consistently and with regard for all sports across the community. Expanding our capacity for sporting events in Sudbury, whether through funding, bid writing, or facility inventories, is important, and working with community groups like SportLink Sport Council and the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame will also play a major part in building a greater environment for sport as well.
“We are working to increase our capacity for sport-event hosting and competitive athlete development while showcasing our city to thousands of visitors, many of whom may never have come here otherwise,” said Meredith Armstrong, manager of tourism and culture for the city. “There is plenty to see and do in Sudbury, and sport tourism is a terrific means to gaining a captive audience. Working with our local sports groups will be key to our long-term success in this sector.”
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Mark Vainio is the business development officer for Tourism and Culture with the City of Greater Sudbury.