Dec 1, 2010 | Marmot, Winter 2010

Olympic Legacy Continues To Deliver Gold to Mount Washington and the Comox Valley

When the International Olympic Committee first announced in 2003 that Vancouver and Whistler would host the 2010 Winter Olympics, sports and community leaders in the Comox Valley formed a plan.

Now, seven years after the announcement and nearly a year after the completion of a wildly successful Winter Olympics in BC, that plan is paying off beyond anyone’s expectations.

Two reports detail the economic spinoffs from the Olympics, says Lara Greasley from Invest Comox Valley: an Economic Impact of Comox Valley Olympic-related Activities done by Vannstruth, and Pivotal Moments to the Comox Valley’s Explosive Olympic Legacy, done by MarketPULSE Strategic Direction Inc. Both are available on Invest Comox Valley’s website.

The Olympics created nearly $3 million in spending for pre-Games training and infrastructure and facilities development, and helped create several years’ worth of jobs. International teams and their entourages spent $570,000 on accommodation, food and beverage services, transportation, entertainment, retail spending and more, according to the economic impact report.

More than 100 media outlets from around the world carried stories or broadcast reports from the Comox Valley before the Games, 89 per cent of which mentioned the Comox Valley and 51 per cent including at least one photo, giving the Valley exposure that would have cost more than $480,000.

Intangible legacies created by hosting international teams prior to the Olympics include a community sense of pride, respect and higher ideals, as well as the forging of deeper business partnerships, the MarketPULSE Report concluded.

Word-of-mouth by athletes, team officials and international media is expected to further expand the region’s global exposure, and has the potential to help create substantial gains in a number of areas, including an increase in international tourism, greater ease for Valley companies to engage in international trade with partners who now have a greater awareness of the region, and greater success in attracting international investment to the Comox Valley.

New facilities at Mount Washington, which were built in anticipation of international teams coming here to compete, now have the potential to attract more and larger events as well as more everyday visitors, both reports found.

The Resort has already been able to capitalize on the economic spinoffs and widespread media attention, Resort Director of Business Services Don Sharpe said. “We have already used the images and the profile to position ourselves as a location that will gain from the Games,” he said.

They’re also in a position to host another major event, although nothing was firmed up at the Marmot’s print deadline.

Last winter “gave us credibility, that we have the capacity and skill set to be able to host events such as the IPC World Cup and events related to biathlon, ski cross and freestyle ski,” Sharpe added.

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