World U-18 baseball championship organizers want fans to experience Thunder Bay
Tournament officials seeking travel company to offer tourism packages
Despite the event being one year away, organizers with the 2017 world under-18 baseball championships in Thunder Bay are gearing up to host potentially thousands of baseball fans.
The U-18 Baseball World Cup is slated to take place from September 1-10, 2017.
Now, local tournament organizers are looking for a company to offer travel services and tourism packages for visiting fans, to ensure visitors can experience all that the city, and the region, has to offer.
"Our goal I think is to attract that baseball tourist from the [Greater Toronto Area], from elsewhere in North America, from elsewhere in the world to think of coming in, watching games, and seeing some of Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario at the same time," said Warren Philp, the executive director of the Thunder Bay International Baseball Association, the group hosting the event.
The City of Thunder Bay has issued a call for bids under its tendering process.
Tournament expected to feature a number of teams from Asia
Teams are in the process of qualifying for the tournament, and Philp said that a number of teams from Asia are expected to make the trek to the northwest next year, which means many tourists from that part of the world could visit.
One big market could be Japan, he added.
"We'll be making plans for the Japanese team, and given the state of high school baseball in Japan — how popular it is — I think there will be some interest from Japanese North Americans and potentially those direct from Japan," he said.
"High school baseball [in Japan] is like high school football in Texas, all over the country," he said.
Philp said Korea, Taiwan — or Chinese Taipei — as well as Italy, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada have been confirmed for the tournament.