Tourism Whistler launches 2010 marketing campaign 

Real estate markets and tourism already impacted by Olympic announcement

By Clare Ogilvie

Tourism Whistler has already rolled out its first marketing campaign capitalizing on the announcement that the resort and Vancouver have won the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

"Our immediate goal is to leverage the Olympic announcement to increase awareness of Whistler as a year-round destination," said Barrett Fisher Tourism Whistler’s acting president.

The campaign will offer accommodation starting at $79 per night based on a two-night minimum stay, valid until August 31, 2003. And if people call Tourism Whistler’s Central Reservation line at 1-800 944 7853 they can enjoy a $20.10 gondola ride and lunch special.

Before the winner of the 2010 Games was announced, Tourism Whistler, in partnership with other tourism organizations, distributed a video of the resort.

Every major network carried some of the footage reaching over 14 million people in several key destinations including Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and the province of Ontario.

"This confirms our contention that hosting the Olympic Games is a significant opportunity for Whistler to tell our destination message to a global audience," said Fisher.

The activity on Tourism Whistler’s website has also tripled since the Games were awarded to B.C.

There is no doubt that wining the 2010 Winter Olympic Games is already boosting tourism in B.C.

"The inquiries are huge," said Dave Gazley, vice president of Tourism Vancouver.

"We have received a ton of calls in the last week whether it’s been from individual people or tour operators …or meetings and conventions of sport groups. It has had a huge, huge initial impact."

Gazley, like others in the industry, are excited about the interest in Vancouver and Whistler.

Most aren’t seeing many new bookings in the short term but there are numerous inquiries about the 16 days of the Games in February of 2010.

"We have a manager that works for us full time in Washington D.C. and she got 50 to 100 congratulation calls and calls from her colleagues and customers the day after the announcement," said Gazley.

"Washington DC is one of the biggest markets for convention business.

"When you are an Olympic city is just puts you in a certain league and you do get a lot more inquiries because of it. The corporate and convention world they love to be in an Olympic City."

Gazley said most in the industry are firmly focused on making sure the event is a boost for B.C. now, in the medium term, and beyond the Games.

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