One of the goals of the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), as the island’s tourism managers, is to help build off-season business. One way the organization plans to do this is by building the sports tourism sector. With the help of its partners, the organization is seeing success.

During a mid-month weekend in April, the island was buzzing with athletes. Thousands were here using facilities indoor and out for competitions ranging from gymnastics to a Gritty Goddess Run.

For its part, the CVB brought the U.S.A. Gymnastics Region III Men’s Compulsory Championships to the Galveston Island Convention Center. That competition drew 25,000, including 740 participants. The CVB sales team also brought the United Cheer Beach Blast at East Beach. That event drew more than 1,500 including 500 participants.

“The weather wasn’t great that weekend, but the cheer group made the best of it, and it turned into a win-win for the beach park and for concessionaires there,” Sports Tourism Sales Director Bryan Kunz said.

The effects of these events weren’t small. Combined, they generated more than $1 million in economic impact to the island based on hotel rates and the number of attendees.

Other sporting events happening during the same weekend were the Gritty Goddess Obstacle Run at Moody Gardens. More than 800 participated. Also taking place on the West End was the Galveston Lassie League Palm Tree Classic softball tournament held at the Lassie League complex. More than 280 players participated and more than 900 attended the event.

The concerted effort to grow the sports tourism sector began in March 2016 when the CVB named a staff member, Bryan Kunz, to be the organization’s new sports and events manager.

Moving forward, the CVB plans to continue to expand sports tourism efforts with an emphasis on developing additional marketing assets, creating a local sponsorship program to offset event costs and give local businesses exposure, and working to increase the number of adaptive sporting events held on the island.

“Youth sports are especially beneficial to the host communities,” Kunz said. “A multiplier commonly used to forecast attendance for these events is to calculate three family members for every one participant. And many of these families tend to turn their tournament and athletic events into their vacations.”

Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations coordinator for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.

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