Mission and the surrounding area reaped a direct $1.6-million economic benefit from February’s BC Winter Games, according to an analysis released last week.
The Economic Planning Group, which has done similar analyses for other Games host communities, reported that participants, spectators and volunteers accounted for $851,300 of spending while Games organizers spent $731,900.
“As the Games are a unique, one-time opportunity for athletes, the majority of spectator spending comes from parents attending the Games in support of their children, booking hotel nights and visiting restaurants,” read the report.
This direct spending resulted in an estimated impact on the economy – including indirect and induced effects – of just over $3.2 million.
“If nothing else, this is consistent with what we’ve seen in the past,” said Kelly Mann, president of the BC Games Society. “For a district the size of Mission, that’s a good chunk of change.
“Mission really measured up in providing a great hosting opportunity.”
The $1.6 million in direct spending is 11 per cent lower than the 2008 Kimberly/Cranbrook BC Games, and several factors were noted in the report.
There were fewer athletes competing in the Mission event (1,847) compared to Kimberly (1,934), and due to the high number of athletes from the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley area, many families were able to drive home each night, instead of having to secure hotel rooms. There is also a “greater range of leisure activities in the metro Vancouver region.”
Participants spent an average of $103 each, including 26 per cent on gifts and souvenirs, 22 per cent on accommodation, and on auto expenses at 15 per cent.
Spectators were found to have spent $232 each, with accommodation accounting for 28 per cent ($64.99), meals at 20 per cent ($47.30) and automobile at 17 per cent ($40.56).
There were 1,745 volunteers involved with the February event, and the analysis found they spent an average of close to $70 each.
Brian Antonson, Mission BC Winter Games president, said he smiled when he read the analysis.
“I’ve been saying to people all along that I can’t predict [the overall economic impact], but look at what Kimberly did,” he said.
Antonson noted some had criticized Mission for even undertaking the Games.
“Lots of people thought that we couldn’t make a success of the Games at all, but it was a huge success. There are always naysayers, but I’ve had people stopping me on the street and say thank you.”
Results were generated from surveys conducted with a sample of competitors, spectators and volunteers, undertaken by Mission Communities in Bloom Society volunteers. A total of 137 questionnaires were completed, which represented about six per cent of athletes and officials. The average spending was calculated from this sample and multiplied by the total number of competitors to obtain total spending.
• More than 68 per cent of athletes surveyed had friends or relatives attending as spectators;
• 71 per cent of spectators interviewed were from outside the local area;
• 85 per cent of non-local spectators were in the area specifically for the Games and 59A per cent were staying for three to four days;
• 94 per cent of spectators spend money on goods or services, while at the Games with accommodation accounting for 28 per cent of total spending and restaurant meals accounting for 20 per cent of spending;
• $143,180 was generated in provincial taxes.