VICTORIA – Earlier this month, a sold-out audience gathered at Government House to celebrate the achievements of local athletes, teams, coaches and volunteers at the Greater Victoria Sports Awards. The evening honoured junior, senior, Indigenous and senior athletes that made their mark nationally and internationally in 2022, while investing in future local athletes with proceeds going to KidSport Greater Victoria.
Among the many inspiring stories was the revival of the Awards themselves. Their return after a 17-year hiatus is one of many victories for the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission (GVSTC) since it assumed leadership of sport tourism from SportHost Victoria in 2018.
Led by Executive Director Keith Wells, the GVSTC is the branch of Destination Greater Victoria (DGV) dedicated to increasing the quantity, quality and profile of sport-related events and activities hosted in Greater Victoria. DGV’s investment in sport tourism includes supporting the GVSTC with approximately $500,000 each year along with marketing, communications, financial, research and administration services. DGV also supports the GVSTC’s work through its Sport Tourism Committee, which provides recommendations and oversight about sport tourism issues, strategies, initiatives, opportunities and performance.
Throughout the year, the GVSTC bids on significant national and international sporting events, as well as smaller multi-sport events. Recent successes include the 55+ BC Games, HSBC Women’s World Rugby Sevens, FIBA Olympic Qualifying Basketball, Pan Am Cross Country Cup, IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, and USPORTS Field Hockey, Soccer & Swimming Championships.
The GVSTC also supports smaller local and provincial events and provides funding for sporting events that contribute to local economic development, promote tourism and the region, and generate significant overnight visitation to Greater Victoria, particularly during off-peak season (Nov-April). On average, the DGV-GVSTC partnership supports approximately 100 major regional, provincial, national and international sporting events in Greater Victoria each year, contributing approximately $117 million to the regional economy.
Together, DGV and the GVSTC have raised Greater Victoria’s profile as a sport tourism destination and generated widespread recognition of our region’s passion for sports, extensive athletic community, and wide range of world class sporting venues.
Through DGV’s ongoing investment in GVSTC, our region’s thriving sport tourism economy is in strong and stable hands with a community-governed tourism board. This ensures the legacies of sports tourism will continue to flow to the community, as well as to an extensive network of local suppliers, businesses and partners, including venues, hotels, municipalities, transportation services, attractions, retailers and much more.
Paul Nursey is the President and CEO of Destination Greater Victoria