By Adam Jacobs
More than eight weeks ago Halifax set a record for attendance for the World Women's Hockey Championship.
Now that the event has begun, it is time for the city to reap the benefits. In 1997 Kitchener hosted 66,783 hockey fans by the time the event concluded.
As it stands today Halifax has sold close to 80,000 tickets between the Halifax Metro Centre and Dartmouth Sportsplex.
Event manager Gary MacDonald said that number may not completely represent the number of people who will be attending the event, but it is a great accomplishment.
"I couldn’t give you a guess," he said. "People from all over are buying tickets and they are coming from everywhere."
What this means for the Capital City, said MacDonald, is an estimated $5-7 million being exchanged over the next 10 days or so.
A survey will follow the event and will further expand on current estimates. Damian Byrne of The Landmark Hospitality Group has seen it all before. "During the World Juniors we saw a 20 per cent increase in business," the CEO said. "Hockey in general, people eat before the games and that’s where we saw the biggest increase in business."
His nightlife establishments didn’t do as well because they’re not geared to a "family environment."
Numbers from Tourism Nova Scotia show that for every $100,000 in revenue it creates three jobs directly or indirectly.
For Byrne - who heads six restaurant venues in the downtown area, including the Split Crow and Peddler’s Pub – this is true. He said he will have to bring in some extra workers throughout the week to ensure that business can be met.
Numbers from Tourism Nova Scotia show that for every $100,000 in tourism revenue federal, provincial and municipal taxes collected add up to $16,480.
"You’d have to be crazy not to support something like this," Byrne said. "Why wouldn’t you support an increase in your own business?"
Other beneficiaries are hotels, cabs and Metro Transit. Anyone who runs a business in the downtown area can benefit in some way. And for the province, it brings early relief following a long winter and preceding a busy tourist season.
"It certainly extends the tourism season," MacDonald said. "It does provide a great segue into the tourism season and it couldn’t be held at a better time."
Byrne couldn’t completely agree. "Frankly the World Junior Championship was [scheduled for] the best time ever, but I would say this is the next best time."
He added all of the government partners were interested in having the Championship here and the financial benefits are a bonus. The city not only reaps a financial reward, it also improves itself culturally by hosting eight other nations. "It’s a win-win situation," MacDonald said.
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