Anyone in Vancouver is probably heartily sick of hearing about the Winter Olympics. It has been a hot topic ever since we won the bid to host the 2010 winter games. There have been debates about all sorts of things. Mostly cost of course. The cost of the construction of the Olympic venues, the cost of the Athletes Village, the cost of the bailout of the same by the City, the cost of tickets – if you can get them. The cost of hotel rooms or furnished rentals – again if you can get them.
While we have been worrying about the cost, we have also assumed that we will benefit from the Games. Some people think real estate prices will go up as Vancouver and Whistler see increased demand. Those renting out their rooms will be able to charge big bucks to overseas visitors. And all of the people coming here will be a huge bonanza in terms of tourist dollars spent.
Behind all this is the assumption that people actually know and care about the Olympics. Our experience has been that people don’t know about the Games. And hey, we deal with people who presumably actually know about Canada, can find it on the map and may even have been here – several times.
From Vancouver’s point of view it is sad that so many of the people we’ve been talking with recently are surprised when we say “don’t come in February because of the Olympics”. Vancouver thinks that the eyes of the world are on us, but I really doubt that. If hardly anyone who is hoping to move to Canada knows about it, then Vancouver has simply fallen into the trap of believing its own publicity.
I really hope that the Games prove to be worth it for us all, since we are spending a lot and being put to a lot of trouble for this. Let’s get the word out to the rest of the world!
So as a reminder to all, here are the dates to avoid when thinking of coming to Vancouver (unless you have a room arranged and tickets for the events):
Winter Games: February 12 to 28, 2010
Paralympic Winter Games: March 12 to 21, 2010