National events boost city’s economy

National events boost city's economy
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If you woke up this morning feeling a little smarter, a little sharper of mind, it could well be the city's collective consciousness at work.

Two national-scale brain-a-poloozas are underway at the same time in the city. Northern FanCon (NFC) is waving the flags of popular culture at CN Centre while the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) conference is pushing the buttons of science, technology, engineering, art and math at The Exploration Place.

These thinkfests are also lucrative for the local economy. It has triggered local money to be spent into the city's economy, in the organizational and operational phases, and both also draw investment and human interaction in from outside communities. In both cases, international attention is now on Prince George.

"Hosting a national conference versus a provincial conference means that delegates are coming from all across Canada and at times the U.S. and overseas," said Shirly Prokopchuk, the Meetings & Conventions manager for Tourism Prince George.

"For the majority of these delegates, it will be their first time in Prince George. The first impression is what counts. On the tourism side, it is our job as ambassadors of Prince George to provide that friendly, caring and positive experience, so that they will want to come back. With this means more visitors to Prince George which equals a increase in economic impact."

The location that hosts the most impactful conferences for the economy is the Prince George Civic & Convention Centre, due to its size and downtown location.

It played a major role in the 2015 Canada Winter Games, the annual BC Natural Resources Forum, and the biennial Council of Forest Industries convention and the Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition.

CN Centre is another place that holds court for national gatherings, both sport and industrial.

"Hosting conferences and conventions on a national scope in Prince George has a huge impact on our local economy, from increasing the number of nonresident delegates and exhibitors to an increase in additional spending on food, beverage, retail, entertainment and activities," said Prokopchuk.

"Between 2016 and 2017, we did see an increase in economic impact for the city directly related to meetings and conferences being held at the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre. In 2017 alone, Prince George saw approximately 10,225 nonresident delegates and exhibitors attend events at the PGCCC, with the average nonresident delegate spending approximately $673 and the average nonresident exhibitor spending approx. $1,586 (based on data from from PGCCC events manager Myles Tycholis). This increase is a combination of provincial and national conferences."

Prokopchuk added that local hosts are seeing another change in recent years.

These conferences and conventions are taking on more venues for their collection of meetings and events.

For example, the CASC conference is utilizing the Coast Inn of the North, Pacific Western Brewery and other locations as well as Exploration Place for their programing.

NFC is likewise holding events in multiple arenas at the CN Centre complex, the Black Clover Banquet Hall, Shooter's Pub-Ospika, and more.

"Event planners are starting to look outside the box for their event," she said.

"They want to spice up their delegate's experience and leave them with a positive and exciting memory."

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