From the ‘sorry’ socks as prizes to the highly sought after toques, TEAM Canada’s presence at SportAccord 2019 in Queensland, Australia was a highly successful mission.
The group was a cross-country representation of Canada’s sport tourism destinations – with participation from Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, London, Montréal, Quebec City, in addition to CBC Sports and Destination Canada.
TEAM Canada included several veterans of previous SportAccords, and a few ‘rookies’ who were attending for the first time, including Cheryl Finn, Director, Sport Tourism for Tourism London. She immediately saw the benefit of promoting her city, venues and hosting experience to international rights holders. “We were able to promote our city to an international market that we haven’t previously tapped into,” said Finn. “And being a part of the Team Canada booth was a great place to start conversations with so many interesting people from event organizers to IOC members.”
Cheryl also saw what a tremendous opportunity it was to work together as TEAM Canada. “I felt so supported by the people on our team who had been there before. They gave us great advice, and really helped us feel a part of representing our nation. There was a real camaraderie as we all worked together, staffing the booth and hosting the Team Canada reception.”
For Andréanne Paquet, Sports Market Manager at Sports Events Montréal, this was her third SportAccord. New for her this time was participating in a panel discussion during the CityAccord segment of the program. Her experience on a panel at Sport Events Congress 2019 helped prepare her for this speaking opportunity. She enjoyed being part of the all-female presentation, where she was joined by representatives from the Paris 2024 Olympic Organizing Committee and the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi 2019. Andréanne highlighted the emerging and urban sports scene in Montréal, and the branding of the city as a giant playground.
One of the high points for Andréanne was the learning aspect of the conference. “It’s a really great experience not just for business development, but for learning as well. This is the place where you get to see what cities outside of Canada are doing, what the trends are, and to learn from their perspective.” She particularly enjoyed having a tour of the various facilities adapted for use during the recent 2018 Commonwealth Games in Queensland, and to hear first-hand the learning and take-aways from their recent hosting of a multi-sport games.
The TEAM Canada hospitality function is always one of the most highly anticipated annual events at SportAccord. This year it attracted a record 215 guests. Cheryl admitted she had heard so much about it over the years and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. “The attendance was amazing, and everybody was wearing the Canada toques as soon as we handed them out. And it was another team-building activity for our group because everybody just worked together and represented our country with such a warm welcome.” Andréanne echoed Cheryl’s observation and said the Team Canada hospitality event has become a “not-to-miss activity.”
From a business perspective, it was also a very successful time in Queensland. The group recorded a total of 151 B2B appointments, which identified 96 potential bidding/hosting opportunities. It is Canada’s commitment to developing the relationships along with our demonstrated willingness and expertise to host international events that continues to bring these events to Canada and to maintain our reputation for excellence in hosting world-class activities.