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Regional Sports Tourism Industry Suffering Under Coronavirus

People in protective masks holding paintball guns
Edmonton Impact Paintball Tournament (Photo: NXL PAINTBALL)

Richmond Region Tourism says sports brings in about 170,000 visitors each year. But the first half of the 2020 tournament season has been lost, and the industry is struggling to restart for June.

If America reopens by then, a  national paintball championship is set for June 25, at Meadow Event Park in Doswell.  It’s expected to attract 2,000 participants and families from out of town.

J.C. Poma, director of sports relations for Richmond Region Tourism, says sports tourism will have an immediate impact on the economy when it resumes.

Most of the spring events they organize, such as archery, golf, and soccer tournaments, have all been rescheduled for summer and fall. The paintball match is one of the only events they haven't moved. "We've lost between 25 and 30 events, and it's the hope that we can get as many back this summer as possible," Poma said.

Last year, sports tourism brought in about $63 million in direct visitor spending to Central Virginia.

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