Without international visitors, Whistler becomes a playground for locals

Jul 13 2020, 12:01 pm

Canada’s tourism industry continues to be heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, when border controls were recently tightened, visits to Canada by travellers from abroad were down 82.1%, leading to a significant loss for the economy.

But there is a silver lining to all this. As the province moves through its phased reopening plan, local BC residents have the opportunity to support the economy by rediscovering famed destinations within the province. Whistler is one of these places, and it’s quickly becoming a playground for British Columbians as international visitors stay home.

Tourism Whistler/Mark Mackay

It’s natural to feel apprehensive about local travel this summer as Canadians continue to adapt to the new normal. The resort town of Whistler is changing its pace so visitors can adventure differently while being confident, mindful, sensible, and open to exploring the natural environment safely.

While the destination may not have its usual international visitors, local visitors are asked to respect the current situation and safety protocols in place. Navigating the great outdoors while playing within your comfort zone makes it possible to safely keep your passion for the mountains alive and connect with Whistler’s natural environment once again.

Exploring responsibly

Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

As one of North America’s leading resorts, Whistler has endless options for adventure. To better protect visitors, the resort has implemented trail etiquette guidelines for the public to follow.

This includes keeping at least two metres’ distance from others on hiking, walking, and biking trails, and having the patience to step aside and allow others to pass when necessary. It’s also recommended that visitors ride and hike within their ability and stay within their group.

If visitors can walk or ride to trailheads and access points as opposed to driving, it’s suggested they do so. This allows for less congestion in the town, which often makes it faster to access the trails. Parks and Trails Ambassadors are out and about to help visitors with any questions, and also provide a friendly reminder about Whistler’s new physical distancing guidelines

Discovering hidden gems

Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

While keeping the aforementioned guidelines in mind, locals are free to seek out hidden gems in Whistler. The 40 km Valley Trail fits into this category; it passes many lakes, parks, golf courses, and often wildlife (even bears!). Beyond this, visitors interested in history and culture can make their way to the Train Wreck Hike, taking in views of the Cheakamus River along the way.

Heli tours, river rafting tours, and zipline tours are operating in Whistler again this season, giving visitors the chance to experience nature from a new and exhilarating perspective. In terms of relaxation, the Scandinave Spa Whistler is now open again and offers a great opportunity to unwind after an action-packed day.

Visitors eager to explore Whistler’s dining scene can anticipate spaced seating inside restaurants to allow for physical distancing, patio dining at establishments like Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar, and takeout options galore.

Planning a visit

Table Nineteen/Joern Rohde

Locals who wish to visit Whistler this summer don’t have to worry about rushing to beat the crowds during a two-night stay. It’s easy to enjoy an extended vacation at the resort town. Many hotels and alpine chalets are now open with new safety protocols including contactless check-in and enhanced cleaning and sanitization.

Whistler’s reopening process also allows locals to stay for longer and save on their bookings. To secure the best rates, plan a three-night stay or longer, or look out for summer midweek dates with rooms starting from $93 per night.

BC residents also have the option to join Whistler Rewards, a loyalty program that gives members access to special offers on accommodations, activities, events, and more. Locals who sign up can get a $50 credit for every fifth night of hotel bookings accumulated through whistler.com.

To find out more about the post-COVID-19 Whistler experience before visiting and to see a full list of what is open in the resort, visit the Whistler Doors Open Directory.

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