A partnership announced today between Destination Vancouver and Capilano University marks the launch of a unique course of research designed to quantify the tangible and intangible impacts, benefits and legacies associated with Vancouver’s role as host city for international conferences, congresses and events. Research findings will be shared with members of the BestCities Global Alliance – a collection of 11 destinations that are noted to be among the best in the world, in terms of attracting events such as international congresses and sharing industry knowledge. Vancouver is a founding member of the BestCities Global Alliance.  The city will host the BestCities Global Forum in December 2022, where an update on the research will be shared with member cities.

“We have had the ability to point to many of the positive impacts – beyond tourism -- associated with hosting major events in cities like Vancouver for decades,” noted Destination Vancouver’s Director of Sales, Meetings and Conventions, Michael Drake. “The difference we want to make with this project is not only in the depth and scope that the research team intends to take in quantifying those long-term impacts and benefits on society; but our goal of sharing best practices with other destinations in our network, to increase the overall sustainability of this aspect of event related tourism in the future.”

This new research will look specifically at Vancouver’s conference experience and be led by a team from Capilano University’s School of Tourism Management’s new Centre for Tourism Research. The Centre’s role  is to conduct applied tourism research in partnership with interested groups, including community and industry.

“Destination Vancouver, students and faculty all benefit from this impactful partnership that serves as a wonderful example of university-community collaboration,” said Laureen Styles, VP Academic & Provost, Capilano University. “As the only university in the Lower Mainland offering a Bachelor of Tourism Management program, we are excited for the opportunities this learning partnership offers our students and the deliverables their research will provide for Destination Vancouver and the tourism sector.”

The idea of the research study was conceptually launched last December at the BestCities 2021 Global Forum, by Michael Drake and Michelle Taylor, members of Destination Vancouver’s Sales, Meetings and Convention team. The suggestion was incredibly well received by industry and partners. Funding from Mitacs, a key partner, has moved the research project from an idea to a reality.

“Mitacs is pleased to support this project alongside partners from Destination Vancouver and Capilano University. We hope that our support will help quantify the benefits to Vancouver that its role as a convenor of many international events has on the city.” said John Hepburn, CEO, Mitacs.

For this work, Capilano’s research team will engage with five conferences hosted in Vancouver later this year that are connected to a key industry sector for the city, a local business supporting the conference and related industry stakeholders. The resulting reports will be shared with local stakeholders and BestCities members and the industry at large.