Upstate business leaders aren’t putting the cart before the horse, but they are champing at the bit to see what kind of impact one of the world’s largest equestrian events will have on the region.
The Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, N.C., will host the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) Sept. 11-23.
TIEC officials said the event could attract more than 1,000 riders, 1,500 horses, and 500,000 spectators from 70 countries, and have a $400 million economic impact in Western North Carolina and the Upstate.
“We’re excited for our neighbors in Tryon [N.C.] to host the World Equestrian Games late this summer,” said John Lummus, president and CEO of Upstate SC Alliance. “While the core action will occur in North Carolina, the event’s location within the greater ‘Charlanta’ region is a great testament to the transportation connectivity, beautiful climate, and hospitable environment this area has to offer.
“We anticipate a great deal of eyes will be on Tryon and nearby communities like Asheville [N.C.], Greenville, Spartanburg, and the surrounding retreats. The event draws 500,000 attendees from throughout the globe,” Lummus added. “Because the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is the designated airport of entry for the games, we anticipate a great deal of economic impact as visitors explore our region’s additional amenities.”
Hotel operators in Greenville and Spartanburg counties said room blocks allocated for visitors of the games are filling up fast.
The local tourism industry is abuzz.
“This could quite easily be the largest multiday spectator event between Charlotte and Atlanta, which will certainly benefit Spartanburg County in terms of hotel and restaurant spending,” said Chris Jennings, executive vice president of the Spartanburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We plan to work closely with our tourism partners to welcome WEG visitors, showcase all that our community has to offer, and make sure they want to come back again to visit and explore.”
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