The crowds of tourists walking through Whistler Village may have been a little thicker this summer than last.
According to statistics released by Tourism Whistler on Tuesday, businesses in Whistler are booming this summer, and room bookings for the summer are forecast to be up four per cent from 2006.
If the trend continues, summer 2007 will go on record as the busiest summer ever, surpassing last year’s record-breaking numbers.
“Whistler is experiencing record visitor numbers,” said Ian Dunn, director of marketing at Tourism Whistler.
“Of course, there are a number of factors at play here. We have enjoyed excellent response to our increased marketing and sales efforts, and we are definitely seeing a renewed interest in Whistler,” he said.
Even with last July 2006’s numbers being bolstered by large group and incentive business, July 2007 closed with positive results. Room nights for July 2007 were just one per cent shy of the 2006 record and the average daily rate (ADR) grew by two per cent.
Independent travelers (IT) and bookings for the tour and travel sector contributed to the past month’s impressive results. In fact, IT bookings grew by 15 per cent compared to 2006 and tour and travel climbed by 11 per cent. The IT bookings were strengthened by the Kokanee Crankworx Festival, held July 21-29, with all but three nights of the festival registering room night increases over last year.
Room bookings this year saw an increase in June, a slight decrease in July, and are projected to increase from August till October.
Room bookings last summer increased 14 per cent over 2005.
Tourism Whistler reported that they have continued to see a significant increase in bookings directed through its central reservation service, Whistler.com. By July 21 st this year, the monthly sales target has already been exceeded.
Dunn said there is also strong early interest in the 2007-08 winter season. The Book Early and Save promotion for winter was launched July 17 and Tourism Whistler’s Australian campaign was launched at the end of July.
Increases have been seen in both the regional and long-haul markets, with room nights booked by visitors from the regional market up by seven per cent over the 2005-06 winter season and long-haul markets — especially within the U.S. and Canada — showing a combined 17 per cent increase over last year.
Bookings for the 2006-07 winter season increased 13 per cent from 2005-06 and were only two per cent behind the best winter on record in 2000-01.