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Sports Tourism Booming in Canada

31 Oct, 2018

By: Michael Popke

Canada’s position on the Global Sports Impact (GSI) Nations Index has dropped from No. 2 to No. 6 between 2015 and 2018, but sports tourism continues to significantly boost the Canadian economy.

According to custom data tabulations from the Travel Survey of Residents of Canada and the International Travel Survey, Canada saw a continued rise in the value of sports tourism, with a total expenditure of $6.8 billion, an increase of more than $33 million over 2016.

The most significant increases occurred in the spending by visitors from the United States and other parts of the world, according to information recently released by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. International sports tourism increased 5 percent in 2017 over the previous year, with the number of sports tourism visitors from the United States increasing 3 percent and the number of overseas visitors increasing 2 percent.

Perhaps most impressive is that international visitors accounted for 35 percent of the total value of sports tourism in Canada, up from 27 percent in 2014. In 2015 Canada hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada in six different cities and the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Toronto.

“Canada continues to be a very attractive host country for many international events, which draws people coming to compete, support and spectate at those events,” Rick Traer, chief executive officer of the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance said in a statement. “We have a stellar reputation for our expertise in hosting both summer and winter sports, with excellent facilities, organizational abilities, welcoming volunteers and strong hosting program financial support at the federal and provincial levels.”

Canada hosted 41 international events in 2017, Traer added — second only to the United States. “That was a major factor in the growth of the sport tourism industry,” he said.

The alliance will host Canada’s Sport Events Congress in Ottawa in March, which is the country’s  largest gathering of event rights holders, community tourism professionals, event suppliers, event management firms and elected officials.

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