Hockey championship estimated to have brought €44 million to Latvian budget

The 2023 World Hockey Championship in Rīga will contribute an additional €44 million to the national economy, according to preliminary estimates by the Rīga City Council on June 1.

The championship took place with financial support from Rīga municipality, whose main aim was to “return life to the city after the years of the pandemic and to support local tourism and hospitality companies” through the championship, said the City Council.

“The decision of Riga municipality to actively support the development of the hockey championship in the capital of Latvia has clearly proved to have been very correct. For two weeks, domestic and foreign fans held real hockey festivals in the city. More than 30,000 foreign guests attended the championship games in Rīga, which was particularly prominent not only in the arena but also in Old Riga cafes and bars. By granting local government co-financing for the organization of the championship, our aim was to bring the entire amount allocated from the budget back to Rīga's budget in the form of taxes. The first estimates of the economic benefits for the city indicate that this goal will be achieved,” said Mārtiņš Staķis, Mayor of Rīga.

Among the 30 thousand foreign hockey fans, the Swiss, Czechs, and Slovaks had come the most to support their teams. Although the championship Group A games took place in Tampere, Finland, several hundred Finnish fans chose to enjoy the hockey atmosphere in Riga.

The biggest winners of the championship in Riga are bars and entertainment sites, the City Council noted. "During the hockey championship, the turnover of entrepreneurs increased on average by 30-50%. Bars and cafes with terraces also reached record profit rates compared to this period in previous years," said Oskars Ikstens, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Bar Association.

The Rīga City Council added that, along with the start of the tourism season and the big events that took place in Rīga in May – the “Rimi” Riga marathon and the world championship in hockey, hotel data have also improved significantly. Preliminary figures show that the number of major Riga hotels in May is 50% higher than in April and reaching pre-pandemic levels. 

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