Conferences and Catering Push Summer 2008 over the Top

First Annual Food FestivalThe summer season continues to grow at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. “Tourism was up this year,” Resort Marketing Director Karen Bonell said.

The weather co-operated this year, despite July being a bit cool. “It was a decent summer. That was a big help,” she said.

“The whole move into catering and conference groups has definitely been our success this summer,” she added.

Conferences brought guests from all over to the Resort regardless of the weather. Many of them turned their visits into mini getaways, and that translated into spin-offs for both the Resort’s accommodation and food and beverage departments.

One area in particular that stood out was the number of seniors who visited the Resort late in the season, she said.

“This September we saw a lot more seniors come up. Part of that was the weather. I think the other part is they’re not really tourists, per se. They’re Vancouver Island seniors and if the weather’s good they get out and tour,” Bonell said.

Rides on the Mile High chairlift went up 60 per cent in September, and she attributed that to the number of seniors that waited until kids were back in school before making their way up to the Resort.

The Resort stuck to the status quo for events this year, except for the Alpine Food Festival, which highlighted the diversity of Comox Valley and area culinary delights.

“We were really pleased with the first annual Food Festival. We’re going to continue building that for next year.” Almost 1,700 tasting tickets were sold for the marketplace on Saturday. Beyond the Kitchen Door has already committed to co-sponsor the event with the Resort next year.

“That’s a key partnership. We’re really happy they want to come back and do it again,” Bonell said. The Event has already been scheduled for September 4-6, 2009, slightly earlier than this year.

Moving the Beer and Wine Festivals back to Raven Lodge was a hit, she added. People also loved the fact the Festivals were held on Friday nights.