Jul 13, 2012 / 4:15 pm
There are grand benefits to be gained from a GranFondo.
That's what Penticton has discovered after hosting the Valley First GranFondo Axel Merckx Okanagan last weekend.
The event attracted more than 2,500 riders who braved the searing South Okanagan heat to ride in the second annual event.
Those 2,500 riders brought with them support crews, family, fans and money.
The Penticton & Wine Country Tourism team is still calculating the extent of the economic boost for the South Okanagan, but chief executive officer Jessie Campbell believes this year’s GranFondo should have an even greater impact than the 2011 event, which brought in more than $1.9 million.
With 2012 registration up 20 per-cent, it's reasonable to expect the region and its businesses gained an even greater economic benefit.
“We thought last year’s GranFondo was amazing, but this year’s was even better,” says Valley First president Paulette Rennie.
“As the title sponsor and proud corporate citizen for communities across the South Okanagan, I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the GranFondo showcases our little slice of paradise, supports our region and attracts such tremendous investment. What better advertisement for the South Okanagan can you get?”
Penticton Mayor, Dan Ashton, says the city has a long history of delivering successful sports tourism events.
“Events like the GranFondo are exceptionally valuable to the community. It generates significant economic activity while showcasing great local businesses, unique products and quality services,” says Ashton.
Plus, the benefits extend beyond Penticton.
The 160 kilometre GranFondo course travels through Summerland, Okanagan Falls, Kaleden and Oliver, providing a significant economic boost to those communities as well.
“Events like this have a huge economic benefit in the South Okanagan, including Oliver,” says Town of Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes.
“Our Bed and Breakfasts and motels are always full and we get the opportunity to introduce our area to such a broad range of people. These are tremendous benefits we do not take it for granted, but use to showcase our region with the hope our visitors will return again.”
Kelowna, Lake Country and Vernon will look for similar results this weekend during the RBC GranFondo Kelowna, which attracted 1,200 riders last year
The 122 kilometre course starts and ends at Waterfront Park in Kelowna, travelling north through Lake Country and Vernon, before turning around and heading back to Kelowna.
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