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Tourism organizations to discuss use of Olympic logo with IOC

Plan to build awareness, tourism through Games already in place Organizations like Tourism Whistler are hoping for the chance to use Vancouver’s Olympic logo in the years leading up to the 2010 Games.

Plan to build awareness, tourism through Games already in place

Organizations like Tourism Whistler are hoping for the chance to use Vancouver’s Olympic logo in the years leading up to the 2010 Games.

This privilege has never been awarded to any host city in the past.

Maureen Douglas, director of community relations for the Whistler 2010 Info Centre, said the organizing committee for the Games would like to negotiate specific logo use with the International Olympic Committee.

"What this organizing committee would like to be able to do... is to let tourism marketing associations... potentially use the logo on non-commercial print material," she said after a Tourism Whistler member breakfast on Aug. 28 where she discussed what lies ahead on the road to 2010.

The committee is asking the IOC to allow non-profit tourism organizations, like Tourism Whistler, Tourism B.C. and the Canadian Tourism Commission, to use the Olympic logo on basic global marketing material.

"We recognize what a driving force this is," said Douglas.

"Some other countries look at the Games as a catalyst for industry and suppliers but we see it as being a huge driving force for tourism. And how do you leverage that starting now and into the long term?

"If we can apply this (logo) creatively and responsibly in terms of tourism marketing then there’s benefits to the IOC as well.

"If we do a great job in attracting tourism around these Games and because of these games then it becomes an even bigger selling feature for the IOC... in terms of what is the economic benefit to the Games if they’re marketed right."

There are stringent regulations that govern use of the Olympic logo. Currently it can only be used by the transition team and its partners and only for non-commercial use. Douglas said the IOC has to ensure that they don’t devalue the brand for the official Olympic sponsors.

"It’s about protecting the Olympic image and Olympic opportunity," she said.

"The Olympic Rings are probably tied with Coca Cola as the world’s most recognized brand."

Vancouver’s Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games will be developing a new logo for the 2010 Games to be launched late next year.

But even without the logo use Tourism Whistler has already been capitalizing on the Games.

Before the July 2 announcement, Tourism Whistler provided film footage of the resort to news stations in the United States. Two hundred and forty news stations with a viewing audience of 15 million people used the Whistler footage in their broadcasts of the Olympic announcement that day. Tourism Whistler estimated this exposure was the equivalent of $225,000 (US) in advertising.

"Our primary goal was to increase awareness, which is what we did," said Linda Flegel, Tourism Whistler’s manager of media relations for 2010.

"Our job going forward now is to create that awareness into visits, but out of the gate it was to get our name out there alongside Vancouver’s."

At the breakfast meeting Douglas asked businesses owners to be patient in the interim about using the Olympics as a marketing tool. There could be opportunities down the road, she said.

"Even with individual businesses, we know what the regulations are now but as opportunities come down... there may be opportunities to use the logo," she said.

"But in the meantime no one can be out there abusing it."

Next month Tourism Whistler will host a one day workshop where local business owners can go through scenarios that will identify opportunities for them that come with having the Olympics in Whistler.

It will be a workgroup session with Gordon Goodman, Olympic Bid Secretariat, and Bill Malone, from the Park City Chamber of Commerce.

The workshop, slated for Tuesday, Oct. 21, will be open to all community members at large.

Along with business opportunities, Douglas also talked about the opportunities for residents to get involved with the Games on a volunteer basis.

Roughly 25,000 volunteers will be needed over the course of the Games, with up to 10,000 needed in the Whistler area with an additional 5,000-8,000 volunteers for the Paralympic Games.

Douglas encouraged people to get experience now because there will be a rigorous screening process that will be much like applying for a job. But she added that Whistler is ahead of the game when it comes to volunteer experience.

"This is a volunteer-ready town," she said.

In the meantime Douglas said the transition team is working hard until the OCOG board is in place.

She told Tourism Whistler members at the breakfast meeting: "Like yourselves, we are to some degree learning as we go along."

By 2004, once the OCOG is in working order, the work will really begin, particularly on the venue construction.

She said: "We literally do not have a day that we can spare."