Canada reaps Olympic benefits

Canada reaps Olympic benefits

The benefits of hosting a mega-sporting event have been confirmed by Canada, with the country reaping the rewards of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Awareness of Canada as a tourism destination has rocked thanks to Games, with the trend now being translating into travel bookings in the Canadian Tourism Commission’s (CTC) core markets.

As many as 290,000 British travellers were inspired by Canada’s marketing campaigns to book flights to Canada — almost double 2009 and triple 2008 figures.

Tourism revenues from this market were up over 2009 by $134 million (from $256 million to $380 million), reflecting the additional traffic.

Over 70,000 Australians also shifted from considering a trip to Canada to making a firm booking in 2010 — twice 2009 numbers.

Big increases were also recorded among German and French travellers.

The annual value of the sports tourism sector has been estimated at $600 billion by WSDE Sport Tourism Expo.

“As host of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Canada seized the opportunity to showcase the spirit and hospitality of its people and the natural wonder of our attractions to the world,” said tourism minister Rob Moore.

“Our tourism industry is poised to build on the successful collaboration of public and private partners as we focus on drawing many more visitors to Canada.”

CTC’s media and public relations activity around the Games resulted in global coverage for travel to Canada and roughly $1 billion in “advertising value equivalency” in 2010.

The figures come from an interim report, Tourism steps up to the podium, prepared by the CTC.

This interim accounting examines the early results from the Government of Canada’s investment in a $26-million tourism-focused strategy to leverage the Games.

“From the outset, we knew that our job was to market Canada—to use the Games platform to advance Canada’s tourism brand,” said CTC president Michele McKenzie.