Catalyst Community: Sports Tourism has an impact on our region


We probably take it for granted that our region hosts some major sporting events that impact our communities in many ways.   We also host smaller scale events that also draw attention. For Catalyst Community, we asked Tim Shelton, the Director of Sports Tourism for Go Great Lakes Bay, to share his thoughts on what these events mean to our region.

The Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau serves as the regional destination marketing and management organization.  The Bureau serves as the collaborative marketing organization for the Michigan Counties of Bay, Midland, and Saginaw and their individual Convention & Visitors Bureau organizations.  The current mission of the Bureau is to increase overnight lodging stays, contributing to economic growth within our region.

Prior to joining Go Great Lakes Bay in 2022, Tim enjoyed a career in hotel management for 33 years.  Tim has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ball State University. His career specialized in revenue management, sales, and marketing for several hotel brands including Sheraton, Marriott, Hilton, Dolce, and Wyndham.

The Dow Tennis Classic is held at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.
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The value of sports tourism in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region cannot be overstated. Sports tourism refers to travel for sporting events to either participate or observe.  Whether it be youth, amateur or professional in scope, our region has a rich history of hosting sporting events and has invested in top-notch venues to accommodate various sports. Here are some key reasons why sports tourism is valuable in the Great Lakes Bay Region:

1. Economic Impact: Sports tourism brings significant economic benefits to the region. Visitors attending sporting events spend money on accommodations, meals, transportation, shopping, and other local services, boosting the local economy. This spending has a ripple effect, creating jobs and supporting local businesses.
Soccer tournaments draw thousands to the Great Lakes Bay Region every year.
2. Increased Tourism: Hosting sports events attracts visitors from near and far, putting the Great Lakes Bay Region on the map as a destination for sports enthusiasts. These visitors may not have otherwise considered visiting the region, but the allure of a sporting event draws them in. This helps to diversify the tourism industry and provides additional opportunities for growth.

3. Venue Utilization: The investment in sports venues pays off as they attract a variety of events throughout the year. These venues host not only local and regional sporting events but also national and international competitions, showcasing the region’s capabilities and attracting participants from all over. This utilization of venues ensures that they are not only useful for sports tourism but also for the local community.

4. Community Engagement: Sports events bring people together, fostering a sense of community and pride among residents. Local residents have the opportunity to attend these events, cheer on their favorite teams, and support local athletes. The volunteer opportunities we have in the Great Lakes Bay Region are significant. In 2024, we are very fortunate to be hosting the LPGA Dow Championship, the WTA Dow Classic and the CHL Memorial Cup. These events could not happen without volunteers. This sense of community engagement and involvement promotes a positive and inclusive environment within the region.
Dow Diamond is the home of the Great Lakes Loons.
5. Destination Promotion: By hosting sports events, the Great Lakes Bay Region gains exposure as a desirable destination for sports tourism. Word-of-mouth recommendations from participants and visitors help to promote the region as a favorable place for future tournaments, leagues, and sporting activities. This, in turn, attracts more events and visitors in the long run.

Overall, sports tourism adds value to the Great Lakes Bay Region in multiple ways. It stimulates the local economy, attracts visitors, promotes community engagement, and showcases the region’s amenities and capabilities. By continuing to invest in sports tourism, the region can continue to reap these benefits and solidify its position as a sports destination in the Midwest.  

The Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB offers many complimentary services including assistance with the bid process for meetings and events, securing hotel room blocks and meeting space, visitor guides and maps, group welcome services, and marketing.  For more information on our services, please contact me at tim@gogreat.com or 800-444-9979.

 

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