The Alberta Winter Games created an estimated economic impact of $4.6 million for the Grande Prairie region.

The estimate comes from a Sport Tourism Canada STEAM report. 

“Being a games city is something we’re very proud of,” said City of Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton. 

“It gives us an opportunity not only to highlight our incredible facilities but our northern hospitality, and these games did absolutely that.”

She said on top of a great event, the fact that it brought a “significant economic development impact is incredible.”

A city report states, “Municipal investment in sport tourism has proven to have significant direct and indirect benefits to the community while fostering youth sports development.”

About 6,000 visitors came to the city for the games Feb. 16 to 19.

“The event was a resounding success and the result of co-ordination among various internal departments, ensuring the city was prepared to host the event,” said the report.

The city contributed $400,000 and about $200,000 in gift-in-kind for city facilities and staff hours. 

The overall event budget was about $2.3 million.

The city’s Bonnetts Energy Centre box office sold 2,910 weekend passes for the event; 2,310 tickets were sold for opening ceremonies. 

“The bear branding was also extremely successful; we sold over 3,100 pieces of merchandise and had to add an online store after the games ended for those who are not able to get any merchandise throughout the weekend,” said Katie Biberdorf, Sports Development, Wellness & Culture director.

The games included about 1,560 volunteers and 2,400 staff hours over the weekend.

The report says city administration will continue to look for opportunities to bid on major sporting events. 

The city has more large-scale sports tourism events coming soon including the 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships, the 2025 Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games and the 2026 Wrestling National Championships.

The city said, “The Games will also create a lasting legacy, enabling the municipality to allocate resources to support sport and athlete development in the future.”

A public art piece representing the 2024 AWG will be permanently installed at the Community Knowledge Campus.

The Peace country also won the Minister’s Cup for showing the greatest improvement from the last games and the Spirit of Sport Award for demonstrating the best spirit of fair play, sportsmanship, team spirit, and co-operation on and off the field.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 28, 2024 at 08:28

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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