Early results from the 2010 Winter Games in Whistler show that the resort's role as Host Mountain Resort has led to significant gains in international awareness according to the Canadian resort, "...a critical element in growing visitation over the coming years".
Whistler calculates that approximately 3.5 billion people around the world watching the Games on their televisions and online.
Based on a study conducted by Tourism Whistler in partnership with Tourism British Columbia, awareness of Whistler increased significantly in the key overseas markets of United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. The study measured awareness of Whistler before and after the 2010 Winter Games (November 2009, January 2010 and March 2010).
Increases by market:
United Kingdom awareness of Whistler increased from 32 per cent to 45 percent, in Germany awareness increased from 19 per cent to 42 per cent and in Australia, already the most aware with 48 per cent of Australians knowing about Whistler before the Games, 62 per cent were aware afterwards.
During the 17 days of the Olympic Winter Games, Whistler achieved an average occupancy of 97 per cent. In the months leading-up to February 2010, Tourism Whistler had forecasted 90 per cent occupancy during the Olympic Winter Games period, acknowledging that this would require out-performing the levels achieved by each of the recent host destinations of the Winter Games - including Torino, Italy and Salt Lake City, US.
The value of the Games-time broadcast coverage is being leveraged by Tourism Whistler - with marketing and sales efforts aimed at converting awareness of Whistler into visits from travellers in existing and new markets in the months and years ahead.
A vital new message being shared with potential visitors focuses on the many legacies of the 2010 Winter Games that will now be an essential part of their Whistler experience. Some of the Whistler legacies that will be enjoyed by future visitors include Whistler Olympic / Paralympic Park which the resort intends to position Whistler as a destination for cross-country skiers from around the world and as a site for future World Cup events.
The Whistler Sliding Centre will launch a public ride program in the 2010/ 2011 winter season for visitors who want to experience bobsleigh and skeleton. World Cup competitions have already been scheduled for next winter.
The $600 million investment to improve the safety, reliability and capacity of the Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler will be publicised for providing visitors with a faster, easier and more enjoyable journey to and from the resort than previously.