Calgary is on the verge of being awarded an International Rotary Club Convention, which could bring millions of dollars in revenue to the city.
The city is currently one of five shortlisted to host the convention in either 2023, 2024 or 2025.
The decision on which cities will host is expected to be announced by the end of September.
If Calgary were to be awarded one of the dates, the convention would be held over four days in the month of June.
However, according to Mark Starratt, co-chair of the Host Organising Committee, there are also events leading up to, during and after the convention as well.
“Not only are the delegates coming in to enjoy travel and tourism before and after, but there’s a lot of adjunct events happening as well,” said Starratt.
“There are going to be a lot of events leading up to the convention that focus on what it is we’re doing in the community, highlighting our volunteer support and looking to grow our membership.”
The last time Calgary held the convention was in 1996, which saw nearly 25,000 Rotary delegates from around the world descend on the streets of Calgary.
“That’s still considered to be one of the best Rotary conventions ever held in the world,” said Starratt, adding that if Calgary were to host again, organisers would capitalise on that legacy.
The estimated number of delegates that would attend such a convention would be around 30,000, not including any family members who might accompany them.
That means there would be a significant boost to Calgary’s economy.
Meetings and Conventions Calgary, which has been working closely with Starratt and co-chair Craig Stokke on the bid, told the media the convention could generate nearly $13.6 million based on 41,300 hotel room nights.
“The 1996 Rotary International convention was an outstandingly successful event for both our city and Rotarians from around the world,” said Clark Grue, president and CEO of Meetings and Conventions Calgary.
“Rotary delegates and their families will make a huge economic impact on our whole city and in fact all of southern Alberta.”
The convention would also provide a boost for areas surrounding Calgary, including national parks.
“It’s really an opportunity for these travellers to see our area and our city, and maybe even choose to come back again,” said Starratt.
“It’s kind of like an economic multiplier in terms of bringing these Rotarians from all around the world. The impact it will leave on the city is pretty amazing.”
Not only would the Rotary convention leave a financial legacy; organisers also want the event to have a social impact in which delegates will do hands-on service that will “leave the city better.”
He added when a convention of this size comes to any city, it’s not often the citizens are aware that it’s going on.
“That will be different if the Rotary convention comes here. We’ll take the opportunity to highlight the partnerships and what we’ve done in the community and look to the community for support in terms of making a difference,” said Starratt.
“Whether it’s the homelessness problem or housing or whatever the case may be, there’s a lot of things that are passionate to Rotarians and there’s a lot of things in our city that need to be done.”
Source: Calgary Herald