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Report questions Games’ tourism

IOC rules, lack of coordination and late start to marketing campaign reducing impact

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  He pointed to the log B.C. Canada Place House in Torino during the 2006 Games as an example. Over 100,000 people came through it and it became one of the most popular destinations for Games visitors.

“When you went into that pavilion in Torino there were no Olympic rings in there, no Olympic logos and yet we still accomplished what we needed to accomplish,” said Hansen.

“We tracked the international media coverage that we got out of that and what we were able to track quantifies out to about $30 million.”

Plans are under way now to construct a similar venue at the Beijing Games, considered one of the main marketing events to be undertaken in the next two years.

It has been frustrating for the province to be unable to use the Olympic marks generally thanks to rules which govern how sponsors can use logos. The province, despite funding the Games and guaranteeing any cost overruns, is not considered a sponsor.

But, said Hansen, VANOC and the government are close to reaching an agreement on the issue.

Tourism Whistler President Barrett Fisher agrees that marketing within the IOC guidelines can be challenging but she believes the message is getting out there.

“We have, ever since we won the bid, seen an exponential growth in our international media exposure,” said Fisher.

Tourism Whistler has used Olympic related events, such as anniversaries, and Celebration 2010 events, to host media and event planners and others in the resort to get Whistler’s message out there.

She pointed to an article in a UK publication that shamelessly admitted they were writing about Whistler again because it was now an Olympic host resort.

“There is a natural correlation between greater awareness on the world wide stage, which creates greater interest in coming, which in turn creates more visitation, so I think there is absolutely a direct correlation,” said Fisher.

More visits, of course, mean more tourist dollars flowing into B.C.

Fisher said Tourism Whistler took advantage of B.C. Canada Place House during the 2006 Torino Games and plans to have a strong presence in Beijing in 2008.

It is also actively hosting media, planners and others to keep Whistler in the spotlight.