Regional and local tourists keep Whistler busy 

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"It is certainly happening because we are marketing it, but it is also showing that the market is bucking the trends of not travelling. They must be perceiving as well that Canada is a safe destination and that it is a good place to look at increasing their travel to, while they may be decreasing their travel to the US."

The same pattern is evident out of Japan and Hong Kong although on a smaller scale. But increased numbers in Whistler likely mean they are down somewhere else said Fisher.

"It’s probably a bit of market share steal rather than the market being up overall," she said.

Tourism Whistler is well on its way to planning its marketing strategies for the upcoming winter season.

The organization plans to build on the success it found in regional markets last year and continue aggressive marketing in those markets, as well as a few key overseas markets, to get the best bang for their buck.

"To date we have made the decision that we will continue the momentum of the marketing initiatives launched last fall and that we will continue to focus on the West Coast of Canada and the US regional market as well as the overseas markets of UK, Australia and Mexico," said Fisher.

She is quick to point out that other markets will also be targeted but the focus will be on putting advertising and marketing dollars where they are likely to produce the greatest return.

Whistler is not the only ski resort in B.C. which will focus regionally to get business. Sun Peaks, Silver Star, and Big White are also targeting that market.

"We have an incredibly strong drive-market so we were fortunate in a way that we didn’t need to increase our media buys in the Lower Mainland, Seattle or Washington as we already have a strong media prominence there," said Sun Peaks director of marketing Vince Accardi.

Sun Peaks also suffered post Sept. 11 when it came to long haul visitors, but said Accardi, the resort reached its goal for ticket sales and bed nights by season’s end.

"We were quite pleased with that," he said.

"We upheld our client base and our drive market increased. There were certainly some good deals that were being offered out there but I think the newness of this resort was still exciting for us and clients came to see that for themselves."

Silver Star and Big White saw substantial increases in numbers after Sept. 11 said spokeswoman Jenny Rutherfurd-Drasdo.

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