Photo: 55 Plus BC Games soccer gets underway Wednesday morning at Marshall Field in Vernon (Helen Belford photo)
Let the Games begin!
The 30th annual 55 Plus BC Games opens today in Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong and Spallumcheen.
About 36-hundred participants — aged 55 and older — are taking part in 27 sports until Saturday.
Vernon Tourism Manager Ange Chew says local accommodations have been filling up.
“We’re not like 100 percent, but we’re in the high 90’s. We do have some hotels with limited capacity, like a day here and there during the Games, but not consistently through the whole time period ,” she tells Kiss FM.
Chew says it’s a huge tourism event, with the hopes that some will come back and visit again.
“We have put in all 36-hundred delegate bags a come back offer that is valid from Oct. 1 2017 to June 30, 2018, with our participating partners to have a discount, if they were to come back and visit Vernon.”
The discounts are for hotels, attractions and dining.
Hockey has the most participants with 450, while dragon boat racing has 371.
Vernon mayor Akbal Mund says it’s one of the biggest events the area has ever hosted.
“It will be a huge economic impact for most of the businesses in our area because these seniors they stay in the hotels, they have to fill up their gas tanks, they have to eat, and having events downtown, they will have to shop too.”
Mund says the event has an estimated economic impact of 5 to 7 million dollars for the region.
“I’m going to say it’s probably the biggest event since the World Cup (cross country races) at Sovereign Lake.”
Among the events starting today is track and field at the Greater Vernon Athletics Park, and soccer at Marshall Field.
The opening ceremony will be tonight at 7 pm Kal Tire Place.