Sports tourism in Greater Victoria to go through a major change

 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 


Sports tourism in Greater VictoriaSports tourism in Greater Victoria will go through a major transformation when SportHost Victoria joins with Tourism Victoria to create the new Greater Victoria Sports Tourism Commission, which would come into effect from April 1.

SportHost Victoria was created in the wake of the 1994 Commonwealth Games to invite events to the region. It has been run by executive director Hugh MacDonald since 2001.

MacDonald said, “When we were proposing to bid for events, I was having to go to so many different municipalities and agencies around the region. And now you have to put up rights fees to host most major events.”

MacDonald said that joining forces with Tourism Victoria will bring a broader approach, and said that “This will be a huge improvement.”

Tourism Victoria will provide key support in areas like strategy, destination marketing, member recruitment, research and administration. Paul Nursey, President and CEO of Tourism Victoria said, “These synergies allow for a smart, nimble, efficient and collaborative entity that will have greater reach and impact in the market.”

SportHost Victoria has had numerous successes, including landing events like the 2002 U-19 FIFA women’s World Cup, 2007 men’s U-20 FIFA World Cup, 2006 Skate Canada, 2006 Pan Pacific swim championships with Michael Phelps, two Ford men’s world curling championships, and the Scotties Canadian women’s curling finals. The 2019 world junior hockey championships beginning Boxing Day at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre is coming up.

Sport tourism contributes an estimated $117 million annually to the economy of Greater Victoria, according to SportHost and Tourism Victoria.

MacDonald will retire on March 31. Tourism Victoria has started a search for an executive director to lead the new Greater Victoria Sports Tourism Commission, which will be based at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

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