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Anecdotal evidence suggests Olympic boost for Whistler

Surveys designed to provide more detailed picture of Games’ impact



People are already searching out Whistler websites, phoning booking agents and considering future investment in the resort following the massive media coverage during the Olympic Games.

And pent up demand and great snow mean that bookings for spring break and the Easter break are looking strong.

"When you look at web visits at Games time they spiraled to new heights all the way through the Games," said Barrett Fisher, president of Tourism Whistler.

"During Games times there were a lot of requests that came through saying, 'we saw you on television, could you send us more information.' It showed that there was an interest.

"Post-Games we do believe we will see some pent up demand. We did see that demand in the spring break period and we anticipate the same in the Easter break period.

"We look at the Games as a platform. Then how are we going to use this as a launch pad for looking forward?"

Over the Olympics about 50,000 to 55,000 people were in Whistler each night. For the most part 98 per cent of the available accommodation was booked.

The Paralympic closing ceremony last weekend saw at least 81 per cent of accommodation booked.

It helps that Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains have abundant snow and that parking is once again available.

It isn't clear whether a direct link can be made between hosting the Olympics and getting more bookings in the months following. But, said Fisher, what is clear is that more people around the world now know about Whistler and that may push them toward choosing it over another resort destination.

"I had lots of conversations with people from all over...." said Fiona Famulak, president of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce.

"They were blown away by the beauty of the place.... they said they would like to return with their family and friends.

"...It would certainly be the hope that the exposure Whistler received over the Games translates into years and years of great summer and winter occupancy rates."

Both the chamber and tourism agencies are now doing surveys to gauge more accurately the impact of the Games.

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games the chamber also surveyed businesses in several key sectors to look for trends and information.

"We wanted to take the temperature of the businesses that were going to be front-line serving our Olympic guests during February," said Famulak. "We wanted to understand how business levels were rolling out, what their challenges were, what the positive things were, and so forth."

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