Few small town mayors can say they have circumnavigated the globe for work.
But then, Whistler isn't just any small town. And, the job of mayor can sometimes have its perks.
On Saturday (May 14) Ken Melamed flew east to Lausanne, Switzerland and from there to Zhangjiajie, China before embarking on his eastern flight back to Vancouver. It will be a two-week whirlwind trip, paid for by two different delegations.
The first part of the journey to Lausanne, headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will see the mayor take part in a two-day seminar on the topic: how to plan for the legacy of a major event.
It will be hosted by the World Union of Olympic Cities, of which Whistler is now a member.
"The IOC has a very strong commitment to the transfer of knowledge and learning from its experiences," said the mayor from his office before his trip.
Part of the story he'll be sharing at the seminar is how Whistler went through a very deliberate process to maximize the legacies of the Games. It began in 2002, said the mayor, with the development of the Guiding Principles and, in the end, Whistler was left with tangible legacies such as the athletes' village turned resident housing at Cheakamus Crossing, Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley and Whistler Olympic Plaza - the full potential of which has yet to be realized.
Sharon Fugman, who was the municipality's manager of the 2010 Winter Games Office, will also be attending.
The second leg of the mayor's round-the-world journey will take him from Western Europe to the heart of China.
Zhangjiajie City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a popular tourist destination in China with a national forest park, mountain ranges and caves known for natural rock formations.
In addition to Mayor Melamed, CAO Bill Barratt will be attending as well as the municipality's manager of communications Michele Comeau.
The mayor of Zhangjiajie extended the invitation, which also goes out to a Tourism Whistler employee and two people from Capilano University.
While the Chinese want to learn about tourism from the Whistler representatives, Melamed sees the trip a way for Whistler to learn about China.
"China is this big vast area of opportunity and we really don't have a great understanding of it," he said.
He calls it "an exploratory mission" to learn more about what the Chinese tourist is like and what they expect when they travel.
He is set to return home on May 27. Councillor Ralph Forsyth will be Acting Mayor in his absence.
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