More than 3,000 athletes, coaches and officials from across Alberta will take over Leduc from July 14 to 17 for the 2016 Alberta Summer Games, bringing with them friends and family —all who will be staying in local hotels, filling up with fuel at local gas stations and eating in local restaurants.
“It really does make a difference hosting these games in your community,” Leduc Mayor Greg Krischke said.
Calgary family excited to attend first Alberta Summer Games
Learn more about the 2016 Alberta Summer Games
Alberta Summer Games kick off Thursday in Leduc
WATCH: 2016 Alberta Summer Games Opening Ceremonies
The Alberta Summer and Winter Games are held every two years, in the same year. Krischke said each time they are held, $5 million is injected into the province; $3.5 million of that into the areas that play host.
“We believe sport tourism is crucial in a community,” he said.
The City of Leduc has even hired a full-time Sport Tourism Coordinator to help bring in large-scale events.
The community of less than 25,000 has hosted national and international competitions like the 2012 Telus Cup, the 2015 World Sledge Hockey Challenge and the first ever National Sledge Hockey Championships.
WATCH: World Sledge Hockey Challenge
Later this year, Leduc will host the Senior Lacrosse National Championship and in March 2017, the National Ringette Championships will be held there.
It all mean a big boost for local restaurants like Nitza’s Pizza.
“They generate lots of business for our community,” said owner Wally Tabet, who is appreciative of Leduc city councils efforts when it comes to sport tourism. “With these events we are way more busy.”
Tabet said he brings in extra staff when the events are held.
But it’s not just about the boost for the economy. Leduc’s Mayor said the games and other sport tourism events offer many a sense of community. Hundreds of local athletes will participate in the games and hundreds of volunteers will do what they can to make sure it’s a success.
“It’s a community building event,” said Krischke.
Athletes between the ages of 11 and 17 will be represented in 14 different sports starting on Thursday.
Watch below: The Alberta Summer Games get underway in Leduc on Thursday with the opening ceremony. Coach Jerry George and lacrosse player Eric George stop by to talk more about the games.