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  • Writer's pictureDean Nelson, (he/him) CTC, LLD

GayWhistler's WinterPRIDE Generates $9.0 Million to the Province of BC

Signature Winter Festival in Whistler generates $9.0 MILLION in Gay Tourism

WinterPRIDE 2013 annual Whistler Pride Parade

Vancouver, BC - June 11, 2013 - The twenty-first annual GayWhistler WinterPRIDE - Gay & Lesbian Ski/Snowboard week took place on February 3-10, 2013 and attracted visitors from around the world. Approximately three thousand gay and lesbian vacationers from 28 nations descended on the region with their friends over the eight day, sixty five events at the award winning ski resort of Whistler, BC, Canada.

This year the Resort Municipality of Whistler commissioned an economic impact study to better understand the overall value of the festival.  The report found spending made by participants, spectators and event organizers generated $9.0 million in economic activity for the Province of British Columbia.

Economic Activity Total Industry Output representing direct and indirect expenditures generated by the event.

- Total to Province of British Columbia: $9.0 million - Total to Whistler: $4.8 million

Jobs Spending associated with the event supported $3.1 million in wages and salaries in the Province through the support of 69 jobs, of which 52 jobs were supported in Whistler.

Tax Considerable tax revenues were supported by the event totaling $2.1 million. $953,000 federal $772,000 for province of British Columbia $332,000 for municipality of Whistler

* The economic impact assessment in 2013 was conducted by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance (CSTA), using the Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM).The 2013 study was funded by the Province of British Columbia's Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI). The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) allocated RMI funds to produce a series of economic impact analyses for events throughout the community including GayWhistler's WinterPRIDE.

The festival is Whistler's primary LGBT activation to welcome the gay and lesbian traveler to experience the dynamic and welcoming nature of the province and attracts tourism spending in British Columbia that goes beyond the week-long event. In fact, according to survey research, 31% of participants plan to visit Vancouver/Whistler two or more times outside of the WinterPRIDE week, including 52% of the out-of-province participants.

"We are very proud of the economic impact that our event has made to the province," said Dean Nelson, CEO and Executive Producer of GayWhistler's WinterPRIDE. "It demonstrates the strong buying power of the gay community and how loyal this segment is in supporting a destination that embraces diversity and makes everyone feel welcome."

Post-festival entertainment in Vancouver, encouraged participants and their friends to extend their stay pre/post Whistler vacation.  Strategic partnership with some of Vancouver's LGBT community groups and special events help to entice guests to stay a bit longer in the Province.

"The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is committed to working with our partners to create an environment conducive to events," Said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "We are delighted to work with third party event producers such as GayWhistler - producers of WinerPRIDE Whistler - to attract incremental visits to the resort."

The event, which takes place annually on the first week of February, has taken one of Whistler's historically slower winter weeks and made it one of the busiest in the calendar year.  Next year, the festival will move a week sooner to the last week of January to ease some of the added pressure the new BC Family Day holiday as well as the Chinese New Years celebrations has on the resort. The twenty second-annual WinterPRIDE festival will take place on new dates of January 26th to February 2nd, 2014. For more information, visit


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