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Whistler Tourism Up By 20 Per Cent For International Visitors

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WHISTLER TOURISM
Canadian halfpipe team member Matt Margetts takes to the air as he trains on the Blackcomb glacier in Whistler, British Columbia, Friday, July, 6, 2012. Whistler Blackcomb's third quarter financial results show that international tourists are flocking to the the mountain in droves. (Jonathan Hayward/CP) | AP

Whistler is cool for tourists around the world again.

The ski resort's third quarter financial results show skiers and snowboarders from all over the world are flocking to the mountains en masse, looking for thrills in the terrain that featured heavily in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

A Whistler Blackcomb news release said the mountains drew 20.4 per cent more international visitors in the 2011-12 ski season, contributing to increases in "every key metric" including revenue and effective ticket price (ETP), which measures lift ticket sales divided by skier visits.

Company revenue climbed to $34.4 million from $30.2 million in the previous year, while revenue for the nine months ended June 30, 2012 climbed to $209 million from $186.4 million.

“We saw growth in all areas of our business for the 2011-12 ski season as a result of our focused efforts to drive destination skier visits and sustain our solid regional base," Whistler Blackcomb President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Brownlie said in the release.

In addition to the revenue increases, Whistler also posted its highest ever lift revenue, at $43.3 million for lift ticket and frequency passes, according to Pique Newsmagazine.

These numbers came despite the fact that the resort didn't see a substantial increase in total skier visits. The third quarter saw approximately 332,000 skier visits, compared with 346,000 in 2011.

The news wasn't always so rosy for Whistler. In August 2011, the company announced a $6.8 million net loss for its third quarter, what it called "typical" for that time of year, with revenue decreasing by one per cent from its 2010 totals.

Brownlie remarked at the time that Whistler was facing "headwinds" in the market for visitors from areas such as the United States and Europe.

This year, the resort reported its third-quarter net loss decreased by $3.4 million, or 27.4 per cent.

With the results, the company has announced it will spend $10 to $12 million in capital expenditures in the 2012 fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2012.

Whistler announced last year its intention to invest in new lifts for the popular Harmony and Crystal ski areas.

Whistler previously said decreasing visits from international tourists were a sign of the global economy slowing down. With the news that visits are going up, there may be signs of recovery.

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