February 26, 2016 - 7:00 AM
PENTICTON - Penticton’s hospitality industry and other businesses are rolling out the welcome mat as the city hosts more than 1,700 athletes, coaches and supporters for the B.C. Winter Games.
The games kicked off with the opening ceremonies last night, Feb. 25, and run until Sunday.
Tourism Penticton executive director Kelly Hopkins says a typical February weekend in Penticton sees the accommodation industry sitting with a 25 per cent vacancy rate. She says bookings for this weekend are at about 95 per cent.
Hopkins says the city can expect to see a total economic impact of over $3.2 million based on data from the Winter Games held in Mission in 2014.
More than $150,000 is expected to be spent on accommodation and upwards of $109,000 on restaurant meals by spectators alone, she says. The figures don’t include athletes and coaches.
Visitors will also spend an estimated $94,000 on automobiles, $58,000 on gifts and souvenirs, and $9,000 on recreation and entertainment.
Local retailers can expect a spending boost in the order of $54,000, while the city’s sports venues could see $35,000 in concession sales. The games could add an additional $18,000 to local grocery and convenience store cash drawers.
Hopkins projects two thirds of the games’ spectators will attend all four days of the games, with 25 per cent attending for three days.
Tourism Penticton has purchased over 500 “I Heart Penticton” bags containing local tourism information and other publications that will be distributed to hotels and 17 host tables in various ports venues.
Hopkins says online engagement with B.C. Winter Games athletes and parents through winter games social media will encourage extended stays in the city beyond Sunday.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016