The Edmonton, Alberta, travel company that chartered a cruise ship to act as a floating hotel during the Winter Olympics has drastically cut prices as the assumption that Vancouver hotels would be full turned out to be a myth, according to metronews.ca.
Newwest Special Projects, which chartered the Norwegian Star cruise liner, has lowered prices to $275 a night from $700. The ship can accommodate more than 2,200 people.
“I can tell you that there is availability, that there are hotels even in the downtown core that do have rooms,” said Walt Judas, vice president of visitor services with Tourism Vancouver.
Jeff McDonald, a spokesman for Tourism Whistler, said the resort municipality also has rooms to fill as British Columbia moves closer and closer to welcoming the world next week.
“There are accommodations in Whistler for every night of the games,” he said.
But, both men pointed out, last-minute hotel hopefuls can expect to pay peak-season rates and a Games premium.
Judas estimated vacant hotel rooms in the Metro Vancouver region start at about $300 per night — higher for the downtown area.
Whistler hotel rooms last month cost anywhere from $400 to $1,200 per night, McDonald said.
Whistler RV Park still has room for the Olympics at the affordable rate of $135 per night for full hookups and shuttle transportation from the park.
And it also looks like Olympic visitors are choosing recreational vehicles, with one company saying rentals this February are up 80% over the same month last year.
Bernie Lehmann, of Frasesrway RV Rentals in Delta, said winterized RVs go for roughly $200 to $300 per night and can accommodate up to six people.
Vancouver is opening up two of its city parks to accommodate RVers during the international event.
The Vancouver, British Columbia, park board says bookings for the RV sites at Jericho Beach are now close to 70% – but the Spanish Banks site is still sitting empty, according to News 1130, Vancouver.
Both parks are being made available for temporary RV use during the Winter Olympics, which begin Feb. 12 in Vancouver.
Commissioner Aaron Jasper says even though they haven’t been able to fill both locations with RVs, staff is still confident they will break even.
But he says making money wasn’t the main goal.
“The motivation was for us to do our part to help out with the logistics of the Olympics,” Jasper said. “I think it will still be a success, I think the folks that come down with their RVs will still find an enjoyable way to stay in Vancouver and have some of the infrastructure such as transportation that will take them in towards the city.”
Jasper says a large chunk of the reservations have come from Seattle.
The Vancouver, British Columbia, parks board wants to create temporary recreational vehicle parks at Jericho and Spanish Banks beaches for visitors who want to camp in the city during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Commissioner Ian Robertson said parks staff recognized that a number of people with RVs would come to Vancouver during the Games, according to Metro Canada, Vancouver.
“We know there’s going to be a significant challenge with hotel space in the city and this just gives tourists and visitors to Vancouver one more option,” Robertson said.
On Tuesday (June 16), the board announced a request for proposals for an operator to manage the temporary sites during the Games.
“We’ll ensure that the recreation vehicles will comply with all of the sanitation requirements and that they’re parked in a proper area.”
Robertson said there had been no public consultation, but said the sites are far enough away that they shouldn’t bother residents. Plus, he said, public access to the beaches will be maintained. The size of the RV sites have not been determined and the proposal is still subject to a temporary development permit from the city. The board hopes to name an operator in July.
“Any revenue that is generated by this will flow to the parks board and that helps us to deliver better parks and recreation services to the residents,” he said.