More proof suggests Windsor’s hosting of FINA in December 2016, and its Bright Lights in an out-of-the-way-park, have had a dramatic impact on local tourism. Numbers just released by the Bridge and Tunnel Operators Association show a grand year was had last year in people coming this way across the Ambassador Bridge and through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.
In total, the bridge saw a 2.96 per cent increase in passenger car traffic. The actual number was 124,263 more cars. What is not known is the number of people travelling in those cars.
Given these are most likely tourists, an average of four per car would not be too out of line, consisting of families with two children or a pair of married seniors coming to see what Windsor has to offer. It would mean almost 497,052 collective tourists were taking the bridge to get to their desired location in Windsor.
Such a dramatic uptick in traffic is to be expected.
After all, according to information documented by the Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance, 462,610,035 people around the world diligently watched the FINA minor event at the east end arena on their televisions.
While some might say this is almost equal to the increase at the bridge, it is a statistic which happens to be quite easy to explain. First off, many Americans suffer Gephyrophobia and, with the bridge the only option to get to Windsor, many simply stayed home and will be visiting when the tunnel is back up to muster.
Because of this, there will most likely be a dramatic increase in traffic once the tunnel is open 24-7 again.
Most likely experts will call this a delayed response; a situation also known as pent-up demand. It could bode well for Windsor, meaning another half a million tourists will be on their way once construction on the tunnel’s ceiling is completed.
The BTOA did not break down traffic by month, making it hard to separate FINA traffic from Bright Lights traffic, although it is easy to assume that much of the pent-up demand in the States is because of Bright Lights. And although FINA and Bright Lights collectively generated $350 million in economic benefit for the city, that is only a fraction of the number.
It could be as high as $500 million once the impact of all the tourists, who were motivated to visit the city but couldn’t come-by-bridge and not come-by-chance, is calculated.
This may be why so many local merchants and restauranteurs have wide smiles habituating on their countenances.