Whistler takes to the road to entice meeting business to the resort 

Tourism Whistler is taking to the road to spread the word that the resort is great value especially in the shoulder season.

Resort association members will travel to Vancouver and Seattle next week on Perimeter Bus Lines to get the message out that Whistler is open for business.

The trip comes in the wake of feedback Tourism Whistler received that B.C. and regional associations were not booking in the resort because they thought it was too expensive.

"I think it is just they are making some assumptions that are not true and that is the message we are going out with especially in the B.C. market," said Lynda Gilroy, director of meetings and incentives for Tourism Whistler.

"We are telling them if you meet in our shoulder season it is unbelievable value.

"It is about the whole variety of what is on offer. The delegate has the opportunity to do nothing if they want or they can whitewater raft, ATV and mountain bike all in the same day."

Several Whistler accommodation providers will go on the road tour along with Canadian Outback Adventures, Cougar Mountain, Golf Whistler and more. Officials from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency will also attend the Seattle meeting to explain border-crossing procedures.

There is little doubt this has been a challenging year for the resort, which has felt the impact of a soft U.S. economy.

Recent tourism trends also show that associations and other travellers are choosing destinations close to home, often ones they can drive to.

Gilroy said that trend made it even more important for Tourism Whistler to spread they word regionally that the resort and its services are great value for money.

"Our whole mission in the B.C. market is to dispel the perception that we don’t want their business and we are too expensive – again, meet in our value months and you get great values," said Gilroy.

"In the Seattle region it is about building awareness and then just getting on top of that mental shopping list so when they are thinking about holding a meeting they will come to Whistler instead of going to the Okanagan."

The opening of the newly renovated Whistler Conference Centre in August will help too said Gilroy.

The road trip hopes to entertain about 100 meeting and association planners at the Delta Suites in Vancouver and up to 75 at the Columbus Tower Club in Seattle.

While Gilroy is hoping to get some bookings right away she said all the Tourism Whistler partners are being realistic about expectations.

"We are going to go armed with value packages so if people book by this date they will get this type of value," said Gilroy.

"But at the end of the day we will consider it successful if we book business for 2004 and beyond."

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