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Concerns rise over travel to Whistler as mountain not issuing season pass refunds unless travel ban imposed

Last Updated Jan 13, 2021 at 8:01 pm PST

Summary

Concerns are rising over one of B.C.’s top tourism destinations

Locals are conflicted to travel or listening to warnings from health officials

Whistler is not issuing season pass refunds unless travel ban imposed

WHISTLER (CityNews) — Locals in Whistler are feeling conflicted to hear people are travelling from out of town to visit one of the province’s top tourism destinations despite warnings from health officials to stay home.

 

It appears many are opting to take a trip to Whistler, and CityNews has learned the mountain’s policies regarding season pass cancellations has only re-enforced that decision.

Season pass holders who don’t live in Whistler say they want to listen to the advice from provincial health officials but add the mountain isn’t offering refunds on season passes unless an actual travel ban is put in place.

“Because there isn’t an actual restriction in place and there is more than 40 to 50 per cent of the season left, that person can use that pass product if and when there is an easing off of any of the recommendations the health officer is giving,” Marc Riddell, Vail Resorts Director of Communications explains.

Meanwhile, Whistler’s mayor says while business isn’t even close to where it usually is at this time of year the resort community isn’t a ghost town.

“There’s definitely cars on the highway. It’s busy, Whistler is an international tourism destination and certainly, there are far fewer people as a total number that are visiting, but there are still people in our community, that’s to be expected the province is still technically open but hopefully, people will hear that message to stay local

Whistler resident Meg McLean says she’s conflicted with the idea of people visiting from out of town but she sees how desperate the local hospitality industry is for customers.

“All the restaurants need people in the seats, they’ve done everything they need to do. It makes sense you don’t want people mixing but now you have to lay people off and we have so many friends who own restaurants in town and the entire place could be run by one server and one bartender,” she says.

The Angus Reid Institute reported in December that 1 out 10 people planned on going on a trip for the holidays despite the travel advisory.

B.C.’s non-essential travel advisory has been extended until at least Feb. 5.