News » Whistler

Weather, war, and economic warts combine to make this one of Whistler's most challenging seasons recently



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Said Fisher: "We are a safe, green, clean mountain resort destination.

"When you travel to Whistler, unlike urban destinations, you are getting away from the traffic jams, away from the congestion, away from the day to day craziness and so it is perceived as a retreat. It is perceived as an escape. It is perceived as a safe haven.

"We do believe that people in the mid- and long-term will be looking for an authentic experience.

"I think that rather than looking for a man-made experience (travellers) are going to be looking more and more to being one with nature, to being part of a more authentic, real experience that reminds them about all of those good values that they are seeing with family."

Tourism Whistler is continuing to work with border authorities and is monitoring Friday and Sunday night crossings to pinpoint trouble spots.

And it is staying in touch with YVR as the airport draws up its summer schedule. That is key as the resort braces for the beginning of the upgrade to the Sea to Sky highway, which will result in some significant closures.

"We at Tourism Whistler very much recognize that we must take a pro-active role in ensuring that we keep our life bloodlines open when it comes to air access, border access, and highway access," said Fisher.

"We think those things are essential to take a leadership role in."

Most airlines, hit hard by the drop in global travel, have significantly scaled back flights. Air Canada is losing $3 million a day and has cut its service by 12 per cent for April and 16 per cent for May.

So what does the future hold for the resort?

Fisher said Tourism Whistler would continue to focus marketing on the regions it can grow in – that means the drive-to market.

The newly renovated Whistler Conference Centre will also help as already it has drawn bookings into 2009.

Corporate bookings are slow all over as companies scale back on spending, cut trip times and even move to video or telephone conferencing, an on-going pattern since the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, 2001.

"What Tourism Whistler is focusing on right now is being true to who we are and focusing on our positioning, our unique points of difference, and our branding," said Fisher.

"In the short term we will still do some very tactical specific summer marketing initiatives in primarily the regional and West Coast market.

"We will continue to build Whistler as a family destination in the regional market until we get the chance to make a greater investment into the destination market for our long term strategy."