Whistler kababayans prosper despite slow tourism season

By Marieto Pacheco, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

WHISTLER, BC Canada – This is one of the most famous skiing destinations in the world.

It’s also home to a growing number of kababayans working in the many hotels and tourist attractions in the area.

Antonio Gonzaga was among the first batch of 60 Filipinos hired by a five-star hotel in 2008.

He has since brought his whole family to Canada.

“Canada is great because of its healthcare benefits,” said Gonzaga. There is a young community. Also, it’s more friendly unlike the city which is very crowded. There are many Filipinos wherever you go. It’s impossible to not see a Filipino.”

But with very little snow in this part of Canada this year business has been slow.

The slopes are almost empty. Ski rentals are down and the bustling village are quiet.

Some kababayans have also been affected.

“We lost because of the schedule,” said Tess Engalia, a resident and worker in Whistler. “There are no tourists in the resorts. We are the tourists. If there is more snow, there will be more tourists.

While the lack of snow may be a bummer for winter sports enthusiasts, it is a welcome thing for those wanting an early spring.

Kababayans add there are many things to enjoy in this mountain resort even without snow.

Local tourism has come up with entertainment for families to enjoy like this story time at the village and children’s show.

“There are many other adventures here besides skiing,” said Gonzaga. “There is also zip-line and other outdoor adventures.”

“You can go to the Gondola,” said Engalia. “There is sightseeing and the view is beautiful from the top of the mountain.”

A two-hour drive from Vancouver, Whistler remains a favorite place to go for locals and tourists alike at anytime of the year.

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