Sport Tourism Industry Inspired and Energized at Sport Events Congress 2017
March 28, 2017, (Ottawa, Ontario): It was three days packed with professional development, business-to-business promotion and networking for the over 350 people in Ottawa who attended Sport Events Congress 2017 (SEC17).
This annual gathering of sport event rights holders, destinations, event suppliers and sponsors is organized by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA), and took place at The Westin Ottawa from March 19-22, 2017 with support from the Government of Ontario and Ottawa Tourism. Held yearly since 2001, SEC brings together the key players in the tourism industry’s fastest growing segment.
In her closing remarks, Cheryl Finn, Chair of the CSTA Board of Directors, said, “Sport is powerful and we are all privileged to do what we do. This Congress, and the work that you do every day, is a reflection of your passion and your dedication to sport tourism. You are the reason that Canada is a world leader in our industry.”
The event kicked off with a with a Winterlude themed welcome reception, complete with an outdoor fire pit, hot chocolate and S’mores!
There was an international feel to this year’s program with Paul Bush, OBE , Director of Events, VisitScotland and Don Schumacher, Executive Director, National Association of Sports Commissions from the USA both taking part. Three city mayors, The Honourable Jim Watson, Ottawa; Mayor Clifford Lee, City of Charlottetown; and Mayor Greg Krischke, Leduc, Alberta, discussed the political reality of supporting event bids and infrastructure spending for communities. And another session featured unusual sports with speakers from Quidditch Canada, Ultimate Canada, and the World Table Hockey Association.
The PRESTIGE awards luncheon on Tuesday, emceed by the award-winning broadcast journalist and host of CBC’s Road to the Olympic Games, Scott Russell, honoured the best in 2016 sport tourism events, people, organizations and sponsors.
The final day featured two plenary session speakers who informed and inspired the delegates. David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, provided an overview of the Millennial Generation, and offered insights into sport tourism opportunities to appeal to this demographic. The conference concluded with an inspiring address from the CEO of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, Michael Burns, who shared how sport has such an incredible impact on the recovery of ill and injured military members and veterans.
To keep delegates fit and healthy, a chair yoga session was built into the schedule, and a giant game of Jenga brought out the competitive spirit of the attendees during the session breaks. Another featured activity of SEC17 was the Sport Events Exchange where more than 40 different sport organizations held over 600 ‘speed-dates’ with destinations for eight minutes at a time to see if their sport and the city/region would be a good match. SEC17 also enabled students and young people to learn more about the industry through volunteer opportunities, and took the sustainable event model seriously, reducing paper usage and donating to the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa in lieu of speaker gifts.
The conference ended with everyone planning to ‘Seas the Date’ for next year’s Congress, to take place for the first time in Atlantic Canada, March 7-9, 2018 at the new Halifax Convention Centre in Nova Scotia.
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