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Kelowna figure-skating event generated $5.3M in economic activity in B.C.: report

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, seen in action at Skate Canada International in Kelowna on Oct. 27, 2019. .
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, seen in action at Skate Canada International in Kelowna on Oct. 27, 2019. . EPA / Todd Korol

The Skate Canada International event in Kelowna that took place in October generated a lot of money and attention in the province, according to a new Tourism Kelowna report.

Commissioned by Tourism Kelowna and compiled by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, the report found the three-day event generated $5.3 million in economic activity in B.C., with $4.5 million of that directly in the Kelowna area.

The competition ran from Oct. 25 to 27 and showcased a field of world-class athletes, including two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, who won the men’s singles event.

The report said ticketing information showed more than 3,500 out-of-town visitors attended the international competition, 45 per cent of whom were first-time visitors to Kelowna.

READ MORE: World-class figure skaters to perform in Kelowna this weekend

According to the report, 59 per cent of ticket buyers were from Canada, 16 per cent from Japan, 13 per cent from the United States and 12 per cent from other countries, including Australia, China, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland and Taiwan.

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“Events like Skate Canada bring new spending to the market that benefits our city and region and many local businesses directly,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, president and CEO of Tourism Kelowna.

The event attracted 60 athletes from 14 countries,  and an estimated 1,800 hotel room bookings were needed for the athletes, coaches and event organizers alone, according to the report.

Kelowna hosting Skate Canada International
Kelowna hosting Skate Canada International

The report also found there was more than $2 million in visitor spending directly attributable to the event on items such as accommodations, restaurants, entertainment and transportation.

The average party size was two people, who typically stayed for four nights, spending an average of $1,200, the report said, adding that 67 per cent of visitors travelled by plane to Kelowna.

Tourism Kelowna said a survey also found 94 per cent of attendees were satisfied with their time in Kelowna and 87 per cent said they are likely to return.

World Figure Skating Championships coming to Montreal
World Figure Skating Championships coming to Montreal