What has 7,600 top athletes, 5,300 square kilometres of competition space, 15 host municipalities and is the single-largest multi-sport event ever held in Canada? It’s the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games being held across Ontario this summer, from July 10-26 (Pan Am Games) and August 7-15 (Parapan Am Games).
A Pan Am Primer
Even though it is the 3rd largest sporting event in the world, not everyone is familiar with the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games so here is a background on the games.
Athletes in the Pan American Games come from 41 different countries in the Americas and the Caribbean and participate in 36 different sporting events. The first Pan American Games were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1951 with the Parapan Am Games coming much later in 1999 in Mexico City, for athletes with physical disabilities. Today, both events are held every four years. Even though only a dozen countries have hosted the Pan Am Games, Canada has had the honour twice – in 1967 and then again in 1999. Both of these Games were held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
To Toronto and Beyond
While the Games will bring more than twice as many athletes to Toronto than the 2010 winter games in Vancouver, it’s not just Toronto that will benefit from the increased tourism and visitor spending. From Haliburton to Hamilton and North Bay to Niagara, the torch relay and Games will bring tourists, and their money, to the hotels, stores and restaurants in each of the participating cities.
The host municipalities across Ontario, including Toronto, can expect a total of 1.4 million visitors, not including the people who live in these cities and towns, coming out for the Games. To help attract visitors, the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation and Tourism Toronto have campaigns targeted to US border cities located within close proximity to the GTA. Add in the lower Canadian dollar and you have an environment that is perfect for US tourists visiting Ontario during the Games.
Be Pan Am Ready
Tourists will be coming from near and far for the Pan Am Games this summer. A lot of visitors will be coming from south of the border so be ready to welcome them, and their strong dollar, with Pan Am specials targeting those who are attending the games. Ensuring ease of purchase is key to grabbing your share of the spending. Have systems in place to accept debit and all major credit cards including those that may not be familiar to the Canadian marketplace.
Please see TORONTO2015.org for more information about the Games.
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