Whistler Conference Centre preparing for September re-opening 

The official grand opening gala for the Whistler Conference Centre, originally scheduled for August, will now take place on Sept. 27.

The centre is now in its final stages of renovations and will feature new roofing and upgrades to the building systems as well as a grand entranceway and new interior finishings.

"Recent renovation developments have allowed us to incorporate even more upgrades into the project than were originally possible," said Barrett Fisher, interim president and CEO for Tourism Whistler.

New building systems will replace outdated equipment and provide more efficient use of fossil fuels and water. The additional developments include heating, cooling and plumbing upgrades.

"With its significant new features and expanded capacity, the conference centre will re-open as a world class facility that is consistent with Whistler’s overall destination product," said Fisher.

Tourism Whistler will host more than 60 meeting planners and media from target Canadian and U.S markets from Aug. 7 to 10 to showcase the new conference centre and Whistler as a major meetings destination.

These delegates will also be taken on a familiarization tour of the village to demonstrate Whistler as a pedestrian-friendly location with world class conference hotels, tourist facilities and adventurous outdoor activities.

The new renovations is expected to allow Tourism Whistler to generate more income for the resort through conferences and meetings, particularly resort-wide conferences of 500 or more delegates.

A number of meetings have already been booked at the new building. Automated Data Processing from the United States have booked 6,400 room nights for August 2004, representing a revenue of more than $1.7 million to the resort.

"ADP represents one of the largest pieces of business the resort has ever secured," said Tourism Whistler Director of Sales Lynda Gilroy.

"The group will utilize not only the conference centre and hotels, but golf, activities and other social venues," she said.

ADP considered Whistler as a conference venue in the past, but at the time the centre did not offer the capacity or facilities that the group required.

The international Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that each delegate typically spends $264 per day while meeting in a destination.

Tourism Whistler is working on confirming 48,000 room nights of new business for 2004, representing an economic revenue of $25 million.

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