As we travel through the busiest time of year from a sports tourism perspective, it becomes increasingly clear how the Wenatchee Valley is continuing to move to a more diversified menu of opportunities for participants and spectators. In the first four months of the year, there were 45 tournaments or events held that had an effect on economic impact. After a relatively slow start to the year, a robust April helped move the year-over-year spending by visitors to just over $3.2 million, up 2.5% from the same period in 2014, equating to an estimated 10,378 hotel room nights. That takes into account setbacks that included a scaled down Winter Special Olympics, and the moving of the Western Regional Ski Race to another venue. While all May numbers are not in, indications are that it too will be very strong.
A look at the list of events once again shows the strength of our sports tourism foundation here. Youth baseball, Special Olympics, lacrosse, running and skiing were the top 5 event categories in terms of visitor spending. May and June will see softball, cycling, swimming and possibly mountain biking lead the way for those months. Of course, the numbers listed above don’t take into account spending by individuals and families that come here to fish, cycle, hike and partake in other forms of outdoor recreation. Up to this point, those numbers have been hard to quantify, but efforts are now underway to get a solid estimate on those activities as well. Numbers that will undoubtedly be of interest to the business community.
Matt Kearny – Wenatchee Valley Sports