Tourism Whistler's Easter weekend forecast ahead of last year 

Fairmont Chateau Whistler more than 90 per cent booked

Tourism Whistler's pace projections for room nights over the Easter weekend are 26 per cent ahead of 2009 pace projections.

That projection jives with some on-the-ground evidence.

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is booked to 90 to 95 per cent occupancy this weekend. That's up over the 80 per cent Easter bookings from last year.

Though there is still some room available, said general manager Roger Soane, he is expecting the hotel to be almost full this weekend.

"Whether it's because of the pent-up demand because of the Olympics, bad snow on the Lower Mainland and now all of sudden we've got great snow up here and people haven't skied as much as they want, there seems to be a good demand for accommodation right now," he said.

April's numbers, he added, are looking good this year.

"April is shaping up a little bit better than I expected," said Soane.

Across the village at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa the projections aren't pacing along the lines of Tourism Whistler's numbers.

"We're flat with last year," said general manager Stephen Webb, adding that last Easter was average at the hotel.

He is hoping, however, that the recent storm system that brought 80 centimetres of snow to the mountains will have an impact.

"The recent snowfall may well help in the regional market," said Webb.

Easter's traditional long-haul visitors from Mexico are also on the scene.

"We certainly have some," said Webb. "I've seen a number of families in the lobby so I know that we certainly do have a good number of them around."

It is not clear however, if the numbers of Mexican visitors will be down over last year after the federal government introduced a visa requirement for Mexican nationals last summer.

"Until I see the hard numbers and comparison I wouldn't say that it's not having an impact," said Webb. "I'm sure that any time a more bureaucratic process is put in people's way that it does have an impact."

Mexico is an important emerging market for Whistler, according to Tourism Whistler.

The organization will track Easter numbers and countries of origin. Those numbers will be available in May.



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