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ITU Multisport championship gets cash

The 2017 International Triathlon Union World Multisport Championships received $220,000 from B.C.
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Joe Wessel traverses the cross-triathlon during the ITU World Championships qualifier last August in Penticton. Dave Secor/Western News

The 2017 International Triathlon Union World Multisport Championships received $220,000 from the province on Thursday.

Michael Brown, executive director, Penticton 2017 World Multisport Championships Festival, said following an information gathering at the Penticton Lakeside Resort that receiving that financial support is amazing.

“It’s a show of commitment from the province. It’s a show that they believe what we have been preaching for the last two years how big this festival is going to be,” said Brown. “This isn’t a festival just for the Okanagan valley. It’s going to reach into B.C. It truly is something special when people from all levels of government believe in what you are doing. We really appreciate it.”

The money will help welcome the estimated 3,000 athletes and their supporters who are taking part in the ITU World Multisport Championships Festival in Penticton from Aug. 18 to 27, announced Penticton MLA Dan Ashton in a press release on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.

“We are using it for athlete services. We use that to make sure the athlete has the best experience possible,” said Brown. “That’s our goal.”

MORE: Penticton gearing up to invite the world to ITU Multisport World Championships

“The ITU World Multisport Championships will provide global exposure to Penticton’s natural beauty and unique landscape for triathlons and multisport events,” said Ashton. “Our government is investing in these racing events as it will highlight the warm hospitality of the Okanagan, generate millions in revenue and create jobs both locally and provincially.”

Ashton was on hand Thursday to present the cheque and he said it was “absolutely phenomenal to be able to give it.

“On a personal level it is pretty expensive to do these things. We’re inviting the world here to Penticton,” said Ashton. “The City of Penticton, council specifically recognized that. They stepped forward. A private entity, Michael and his crew have stepped forward. ITU has stepped forward. The province, myself, and through gaming and especially through minister Bond have been a huge advocate of Penticton. To me it was a no brianer. It’s going to bring a phenomenal amount of people to the Okanagan during the summer.”

Ashton also said the people who come for the event will tell the people they know what it was like when they return home, and to him, that is key.

“That’s going to make a difference,” he said. “To be able to do this, I know it’s going to be incredibly worthwhile for not only the Okanagan, but the entire province.”

The festival will have a long reaching impact on tourism by providing global exposure to Penticton and the surrounding areas. It is expected to generate $7.9 million of economic activity in B.C. The unique multisport festival will combine the duathlon, aquathlon, cross-triathlon, aquabike and the long distance triathlon.

MORE: Multisport world championships impact expected to be in the millions

The Tourism Events Program supports events that raise awareness nationally and internationally of British Columbia’s tourism experiences and motivate Canadians and people from other countries to travel and experience British Columbia. These events also generate tourism and economic activity in communities and regions across the province.

Quick Facts:

· The Province invests more than $98 million annually in the tourism industry across every region to grow and market the sector.

· In 2016, 5.5 million international visitors came to B.C. — about a 12 per cent increase compared to 2015.

· In 2016, the tourism industry generated $15.7 billion in revenue with a direct contribution to B.C.’s gross domestic product of $7.4 billion.

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