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TW confirms record-breaking summer

Regional visitors made the difference, despite the rain

One of the wettest summers in recent memory for Whistler was also the busiest, according to the latest figures for 2007 released by Tourism Whistler.

Room nights from May to October were up six per cent over the summer of 2006 — a year that was also a record with room nights at least nine per cent over the previous record set in 2002.

Tourism Whistler is at a loss to explain the numbers, including the most October room nights on record, especially when regional traffic was a major factor in the resort’s summer success.

“That’s what’s so interesting,” said Breton Murphy, manager of corporate and member communications for Tourism Whistler. “This winter we’re forecasting about three per cent ahead of last year, but one of the factors there is the halo effect from a great snow year last year that is influencing visitors — especially long haul visitors.

“The summer market is really the drive market, the people who can drive here for a weekend. Those are the people who can just look outside to see the weather, and can get make their decisions to travel at the last minute based on the weather report. You would think then that the unseasonable weather conditions would have had a negative impact, but that just goes to show the strength of what we have to offer, and the value, is countering the potential negative impact of unseasonal weather.”

According to the report the summer season is driven by independent travelers, which increased by 14 per cent over last year. The tour and travel sectors also reported an increased of six per cent over the summer of 2006.

The Asia Pacific market, mainly Japan and Australia, also made significant gains., a reservation service operated by Tourism Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, reported an increase in revenue of 66 per cent from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, based on a 48 per cent increase in the number of room nights booked.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with these results,” said Arlene Schieven, Tourism Whistler’s vice president of marketing. “More and more visitors are responding to our year-round value and ever-expanding selection of world class products and services.”