The International Triathlon Union world championships are approaching fast and their economic impact on the community expected to top $8 million.
ITU organizer Michael Brown, with the support of the City of Penticton and Travel Penticton, won the bid for the ITU’s inaugural world championships which will be held Aug. 18 to 27.
Athletes are coming from all over the world, according to Brown, including a female participant from Bahrain. What’s great about that, Brown said, is that she isn’t allowed to compete in her home country, but can come to Penticton and challenge the best athletes in the world.
When they won the bid, they expected to be hosting somewhere between 2,000 and 2,600 athletes.
“As of today we have 3,300 singular athletes,” said Brown, adding that doesn’t include elite and professional athletes — those categories account for about 300 more participants.
Brown said each athlete is expected to bring about two supporters along with them, making for an estimated 10,000 people coming to the community. The average nightly stay is seven nights and a possible economic impact of $8.6 million.
More directly, Brown said they have spent about $500,000 with local vendors already.
“We are using a lot of local people where we can, to make sure the festival stays and has that local feel,” said Brown.
There will also be at least two events open to the public including a Red and White party, celebrating Canada’s 150th. There will also be bands, dancers and events at Gyro Park, which is where the closing ceremonies will take place as well.
“We feel we have gone above and beyond from what we were expected to do by the ITU and the city,” said Brown.