MELANIE Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said on Thursday that she was encouraged that FIFA has confirmed Vancouver as a candidate host city for the FIFA World Cup 2026.
She noted: “The FIFA World Cup is the largest single sporting event in the world. Hosting the event would be a once-in-a-generation opportunity for soccer fans, for our tourism sector and for all British Columbians. Last year, Canada Soccer’s women’s national team won a gold medal in Tokyo, last month our men’s national team qualified for a place at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, a first since 1986 and, last week, world-champion Christine Sinclair took centre stage at the Celebration Tour, which was the biggest event at BC Place Stadium since the pandemic began. The stars are aligning for Canada Soccer, British Columbia and Vancouver. It’s time we showcase beautiful B.C. once again.”
Mark said in a statement: “We appreciate the opportunity to become a candidate host city and have worked hard with our partners to get to this first step. We want to recognize our partners, including the City of Vancouver, YVR, PavCo, Destination Vancouver and Destination BC, as well as the host First Nations. Partnerships are critical to hosting events of this magnitude and by working together we have been able to put our collective best foot forward for this bid. Our goal is, and always will be, to deliver the games in a way that maximizes benefits of this event for all British Columbians.
“B.C. and the rest of the world has been hit hard by the pandemic. The Premier has given me a mandate to support tourism and sport through recovery from the impacts of COVID-19. Hosting the FIFA World Cup 2026 would serve as a beacon for B.C.’s tourism industry, as it recovers from an incredibly challenging two years.
“More than 3.5 billion people watch the World Cup every four years. Becoming a host city and putting the global spotlight on B.C. would, once again, inspire travellers from around the world to come, stay and play. We have a world-class stadium, excellent training facilities and established infrastructure that meets FIFA hosting requirements, all of which make Vancouver particularly well equipped to host the event.
“Destination BC and BC Stats estimated hosting would bring in more than $1 billion in new revenue for B.C.’s tourism sector during and in the five years that follow the event, and there are tremendous benefits for individuals and communities alike. We expect this event to be a magnet for visitors to support local business in beautiful British Columbia.
“Major sporting events like this one have the power to inspire people to play, get involved and shine from the playground to the podium. These are gains that will echo in our families and neighbourhoods for the next generation and beyond.
“We have given it our best shot. We look forward to FIFA announcing the host cities in the coming weeks and are hopeful that Vancouver will be selected.”