EDITORIAL: Sports tourism overlooked

Tourism—and what, if anything, we should do with it in Port Alberni—is always a hot button issue in our city.

Tourism—and what, if anything, we should do with it in Port Alberni—is always a hot button issue in our city, especially around budget time. Many people have opinions about tourism being our city’s saviour; not being enough to save this town; well served through various interest groups; neglected by municipal leaders.

Whenever tourism is on the conversation menu, McLean Mill or the steam train are sure to be an appetizer, if not the main course.

One area that people seldom bring up is that of sports tourism (unless they’re complaining about having to pay tax on the AV Multiplex when ‘we don’t play hockey’).

We suggest people take a pause and look at several big sporting events happening in the next two weeks: three high school basketball tournaments, including a senior girls’ Island championship; the 62nd annual men’s curling bonspiel; and the Tim Hortons Senior Men’s and Women’s provincial curling championships.

How many hotel rooms and restaurant or catered meals, facility rentals, souvenir sales do you think these events represent? How many dollars do these visitors—from high school athletes with parents to adults visiting from in and around the province to curl—spend in our community?

How much attention do we really pay them while they are spending their time and money in our community? What are we doing to welcome them?

Certainly food for thought.

— Alberni Valley News