Vancouver, BC: Tickets Tonight celebrates 10 years as Vancouver's "community box office" today, and will host an anniversary event tonight for the city's arts and culture community.

"Tickets Tonight's mandate for the past 10 years has been to foster the development of Vancouver's cultural organizations," said Paul Sontz, Tourism Vancouver's manager of Cultural Tourism and Tickets Tonight. "We're more than just a ticketing company. Our goal is to nurture small arts organizations, and as a not-for-profit we can support events that conventional ticketing companies may consider too small or not lucrative enough to work with."

Managed by Tourism Vancouver, Tickets Tonight is differentiated from for-profit ticket sellers by its low administration and service fees to arts organizations and consumers. Tickets Tonight is also Vancouver's only "same-day, half-price" box office, a business model that not only fills empty seats but introduces new audiences and offers an alternative for cost-sensitive arts patrons. Since Tickets Tonight's inception in 2002, the organization has sold $14 million in tickets on behalf of Vancouver's arts producers. 

Minna Schendlinger, managing director of the PuSh Festival, praises Tourism Vancouver for its commitment to supporting cultural organizations. "Tickets Tonight has become the go-to ticket outlet for the local community," said Schendlinger. "They serve annual events like ours that otherwise have very limited, and expensive, alternatives for ticketing. Tickets Tonight not only serves the arts community, it's a part of the community."

"Cultural tourism promotion is not just a feel-good endeavour," commented Howard Jang, executive director of the Arts Club Theatre Company and chair of Tourism Vancouver. "It also offers a compelling business case for tourism - research shows that cultural travellers spend more and stay longer."

Of Vancouver's eight million overnight visitors, approximately four million participate in some form of cultural activity* during their visit. A 2008 study by Statistics Canada showed that cultural visitors are higher-yield travellers, spending 23 per cent more than other overnight visitors and staying an average of 0.8 nights longer. Tourism Vancouver intends to further promote cultural travel to the city through its recently announced "Decade of Culture" initiative.

About Tickets Tonight
Tickets Tonight is Vancouver's not-for-profit community box office, selling approximately 100,000 tickets each year to more than 600 performing arts, cultural and sporting events. Located in Tourism Vancouver's flagship Visitor Centre (200 Burrard Street), Tickets Tonight is Vancouver's exclusive same-day, half-price ticket outlet, in addition to selling regular advance tickets and operating a full Ticketmaster outlet. Since inception in June 2002, it has returned $14 million in incremental revenues to arts producers, thereby supporting the economic vitality of the cultural sector.

Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building visitor demand through exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists. 

- 30 - 

Images will be available of Tickets Tonight's 10th anniversary event on April 3.

*The Canadian Tourism Commission defines "culture and heritage tourism" as occurring when participation in a cultural or heritage activity is a significant factor for travelling. According to Statistics Canada, cultural activities include: festivals, fairs, exhibitions, cultural events/performances, First Nations events, visiting museums/galleries, natural parks and historical sites, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens or amusement/theme parks. The "cultural visitors" group is a subset of all Business, Pleasure and VFR Visitors.