Organizer adds up economic impact of ITU Championship Festival in Penticton

FILE PHOTO - Penticton ITU Multisport Festival organizer Michael Brown says a post-event survey indicates more than $8 million was spent in the city and region during the festival's 10 day run in late August.

PENTICTON - The organizer of this past summer’s International Triathlon Union championship festival in Penticton says it had a huge impact on the economy in the city and the region.

Michael Brown with MB Events told city council yesterday, Nov. 7, over 3,500 athletes from 41 countries competed in the ITU championship festival from Aug. 18 to Aug. 27. The festival had an overall total impact on the local economy of more than $8.6 million, he said.

Brown admitted the festival had a few glitches, noting the need for improved communication with all city stakeholders.

“We understand there was a lot of triathlon fatigue by the end of the second weekend within the community," he said. "I understand we shut down a lot of roads and some businesses were affected by the festival negatively.

Brown suggested improvements like a better liaison with the city on course design, improved communications with residents regarding things such as road closures and making an effort to keep the city in the loop well in advance of the event.

A survey conducted by the International Triathlon Union of the athletes after the festival found close to 68 per cent stayed in hotel. Almost 11 per cent of the athletes attended the event with five or more others in their entourage, while 43 per cent indicated one other person travelled with them.

The numbers indicate approximately 7,300 additional travellers made their way to Penticton along with the athletes during the event, Brown said he was surprised almost 31 per cent of those surveyed stayed for more than a week. Around 90 per cent stayed in the city for four or more days.

Only a quarter of those surveyed said the event was an excellent experience.

“In my personal opinion, the festival was a great success," Brown said. "I think it’s really exciting to know we all pulled together to show not only what Penticton has to offer, but the region, and I think the triathlon union is beside themselves."


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