Why sports tourism could be the next big economic engine of Kent County
In recent years, greater Grand Rapids has seen an influx of investment and development which has allowed the region to blossom into a major tourist destination. New shops, restaurants, hotels, events, and attractions have helped the area build and sustain a thriving service economy, fully equipped with the infrastructure to feed, lodge, and transport huge influxes of visitors. As the region continues to grow and invest in key infrastructure like this, residents can expect further interest from investors, including major athletic events.
Already Grand Rapids has demonstrated its capacity to host national and even global-caliber athletic events. In the past, Grand Rapids has hosted Olympic-style and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) national tournaments, and has for 10 years now hosted the Meijer State Games, a state-level competition that attracts thousands of top athletes every year. Not only does the city have a solid track record of large events, but it boasts a resume of huge variety, with successful examples of major events varying from boxing, volleyball, table tennis, rowing, hockey, softball, and even BMX, to name a few. This notable capacity gives Grand Rapids and the surrounding area great potential for hosting events, potential that organizations like the West Michigan Sports Commission hope investors notice.