Recently the Industrial Development Corporation ( IDC ) discussed the possibility of funding a new 4.8 million dollar Soccer Complex for residents and visitors, at the current location of the Sandhill Crane Soccer fields on Stewart Road.
During this discussion it became clear, that if Galveston wanted this sports facility and others to return the best possible benefit to the community and support the quality of life for our residents, it will require a collaborative effort of the City, GISD, Texas A&M Galveston, Galveston College and the Park Board.
The Galveston Economic Development Partnership ( GEDP ) has been exploring the potential of Sports Tourism for years and I and other IDC members attended their recent Tourism Task Force Meeting to discuss how a true collaborative effort could be developed.
Sports Tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the Tourism Industry and could possibly be made to order for our Community. Where many communities focus on attracting Sporting events, they don’t have much to do other than the games themselves. In Galveston a family can come for the Sports Tournament and also have multiple other things to do.
Recent research has outlined four significant ways that Sports Tourism can benefit a community:
* Stimulate the local economy
(direct spending related to the use of sport facilities and services; visitors' and public spending for goods and services; employment opportunities, and tax revenue)
*Enhance the area's image
*Provide outstanding entertainment and in some instances, the opportunity for community participation
* Contribute to the resident's quality of life
Sports Tourists are family oriented, spend multiple nights on the Island and are prone to experience all the Island has to offer between games.
As the Sports Tourism Task Force Meeting was coming to an end, all the participants were supportive of meeting again and discussing a more formal structure for managing this growing industry and to see how it might fit with our community.
Galveston is known for our Beaches, Historic Structures and Island Ambiance and maybe, in a not too distant future, we will be known as the place to be for soccer, baseball, rugby cheerleading or gymnastic tournaments.
Have a Invigorating and Sporting March !