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P.E.I. aiming at sport as major driver of winter visitors

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It’s a constant question among tourism operators on Prince Edward Island.

Sports may be a way to draw people in to accommodations, restaurants, and other tourist experiences so well used in the warmer months.

Charlottetown officials announced Tuesday they’ll host the second ever Sport Hosting Experience, bringing together groups involved in sporting events from across the country.

That comes on the heels of an announcement in Summerside last month, that the city will host five national championships in the next 3 years.

“We’re always seeking events and looking to partner with different national sport organizations, so having these types of prestigious events being announced for us is huge,” said Tanner Doiron with Summerside Event Development. “It adds to our resume and we’re able to go out and attract even more better and bigger events."

Many of the sporting events the island is looking for fall outside of the lucrative summer tourist season and can take advantage of the well-developed visitor tools, like hotels and restaurants, which the province uses for its peak months.

“All different sports happen all year-round,” said Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. “So it’s a really great, kind of booster throughout the year for our accommodation providers.”

Tourism operators and officials have long focused on expanding the core summer season to include the shoulder season, the months before and after, as well as into the rest of the year.

In a plan released last year, tourism industry officials made sport tourism one of the key priorities for stretching visiting season through the whole year.

“The sport events have been able to really extend us through into the winter with tournaments,” said Clemence. “Last year we saw Canada Games. We were able to host that.”

Officials are hopeful the conference will give them the chance to court even more sporting events, a long-term plan to fill hotels, motels, and restaurants all year long.

For more Prince Edward Island news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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