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The search for 100 beds continues

Germans still have not decided whether they will be based in Whistler during the 2010 Games

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Germany will not make any final decisions on whether to locate their German House in Whistler or Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics until after this summer’s Games wrap up in Beijing .

Kim Thompson from the Resort Municipality of Whistler said this week that the loose deadline of July 25 was pushed back following several editorial articles in Pique Newsmagazine and heightened community interest.

“The Germans felt that we were on the topic and working on it, and the deadline was pushed back to the end of the Beijing Games just to give us more time,” said Thompson.

Ben Thomas, who has been working with German Sports Marketing Ltd. (DSM) to find 100 studio or one-bedroom suites in full service hotels, added that July 25 th was never a “drop dead” date.

“The Germans are now satisfied that Tourism Whistler and the municipality are working hard with several hotels to make the rooms they need become available,” said Thomas.

“They are focused on Beijing and are not going to make any crucial decisions either way in the immediate future. So we’ve dodged the immediate bullet of them bailing out on Whistler, and some very high level people are working hard to make those rooms at full service hotels become available.”

DSM, which acts on behalf of the German Olympic committee, has made it clear that while they want to be based in Whistler during 2010, they are only interested in full-service rooms in a maximum of three four-star hotels. If they are not able to find 100 hotel rooms in Whistler, DSM will move the German House to Vancouver.

Last month, DSM even cancelled several site tours of condo-style properties to make sure they had enough time to visit potential hotel spaces in Vancouver.

Tourism Whistler and the RMOW are now working closely with VANOC and the accommodation sector to find solutions for the Germans. They are hoping to have a proposal ready for DSM shortly after the Beijing Games.

According to Thomas, part of the problem is that the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) has blocked the rooms at most of the full service hotels in town for its own requirements. While VANOC would like to help the Germans find accommodation, the organization is not able to part with 100 hotel rooms until other accommodation is available.

At the root of the problem is the fact many owners of stratified condos have not yet made their places available for rent during the 2010 Games, said Thomas.

One of the reasons Germany is interested in setting up the German House in Whistler is German athletes tend to excel at most of the Olympic events being held in Whistler — including biathlon, bobsleigh, luge, cross-country skiing and Nordic combined. Germany topped the medal standings at both the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. All but a handful of those medals were won in events that will be held in the Whistler area.

Once DSM has determined where the German House will be, Olympic packages will start being sold to the German public, as well as to VIPs.   Detour, the company with the exclusive rights to sell Olympic tickets and travel packages within Germany, will then also begin securing rooms in either Whistler or Vancouver. Detour is also expected to need about 100 rooms.

Meanwhile, Thomas said that his company, VIP Mountain Holidays, has noticed that the general demand for accommodation during the 2010 Games has decreased.

“I expect that the 2010 clients will be back in the fall, but it is now a buyer’s market given there is an ever increasing amount of supply of both condos in the main village and houses around the valley,” he said.

“Several of the big 2010 players have already secured what they need, and there is no doubt that the perceived availability crunch within the Olympic community for inventory in Whistler has disappeared, and the clients are now willing to wait for prices to come down and are able to book for the shorter length of stays that most of them prefer.”

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