WATCH: The Royal visit is expected to draw 1,000 international media to the B.C. Capital and be a big boost to the economy. But it doesn’t come cheap. Tess van Straaten reports.
The Flag Shop in Victoria isn’t taking any chances — ordering box after box of Union Jacks for the Royal Visit.
“Everybody loves royalty so when you’re down at the legislature celebrating with the couple you want to show your support and that’s a real obvious way to do it,” says Paul Servos of the Flag Shop on Fort Street.
Victoria businesses are hoping to cash in on what is expected to be a huge economic boom for the B.C. Capital, which will be home base for Prince William and Kate’s second trip to Canada, Prince George’s first, and Princess Charlotte’s first official trip abroad.
“Anyone as famous as the royals and as popular as Kate Middleton and her husband coming to Victoria is a very good thing for a tourist-based economy,” says Catherine Holt, Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO.
But it doesn’t come cheap.
William and Kate’s 2011 visit cost $1.2 million.
The Queen’s 2010 tour came in at $2.8 million and the 2012 visit from Prince Charles and Camilla was $1 million while their 2009 visit was $1.7 million.
The bill for all four visits, which totaled $6.7 million, was footed by Canadian taxpayers, since it’s customary for the host nation to pay for the trip when the queen is the head of state.
But tourism and business leaders say it’s worth it.
“It will have a significant economic benefit,” says Trina Mousseau of Tourism Victoria. “We will have 1,000 media coming in town and staying in hotels and eating in restaurants and all of that so it will be a big deal.”
And with the world watching, officials say the long-term impact will be even bigger than the spending spike during the visit.
“It’s on the level of events such as the Olympics,” Holt says. “Cities do these types of things because of the profile and the exposure and what we get with regard to international media exposure about our location so that’s what we’re investing in.”
The exposure’s already starting, with Victoria highlighted in People Magazine this week.
Tourism Victoria’s now feverishly working to maximize the opportunity and make sure it’s a royal flush.
“It’s coverage you will never get again,” Mousseau says. “It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity.”