Summer tourist season strong in Squamish 

Tourism Squamish is reporting a strong summer season, with marketers successfully mining Vancouver and the Lower Mainland and overcoming hurdles like initially bad weather and the Porteau Cove rockslide.

July was the busiest month, with sales up 65 per cent from last year, a spurt attributed to good weather and robust ticket sales for the Squamish Mountain Festival. August, meanwhile, was down four per cent, a loss blamed on the rockslide that blemished the beginning of the month.

Natural icons like Atwell Peak, the Chief and Shannon Falls loomed large in the imaginations of visitors. Top three guided activities were white water rafting, jet skiing and climbing.

To date for 2008, 30 per cent of visitors to the Adventure Centre are local, 30 per cent from the Lower Mainland, 10 per cent from Europe, 10 per cent from U.S. and Mexico, five per cent from Alberta, five per cent from the rest of Canada, five per cent from Asia and Australia and five per cent from elsewhere.

Fifty per cent of visitors stayed in Squamish only for the day, while 15 per cent stayed for one night, five per cent for two nights and five per cent for three to seven nights.

Going into next year, Tourism Squamish plans to expand its marketing to Washington State. Leveraging the conference market is also part of the strategy, as is promoting so-called signature events, festivals like Squamish Days and Wild at Art, which is attributed for March’s 300 per cent jump in sales over last year.

Meanwhile, Tourism Squamish’s website has been drawing eyeballs, with visits increasing between 20 and 75 per cent month over month since last December. July saw the most web traffic.

This is Tourism Squamish’s second year in sales.

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