Community leaders reflect on Games, thank Whistlerites 

Olympics exceeded expectations, set the platform for future success


"Some ask (of the 2010 Olympics): has it been successful? We believe it has exceeded all of our expectations. Truly."

So said Tourism Whistler's President and CEO Barrett Fisher on the eve of the closing ceremonies of the Games.

It wasn't just that Whistler was able to maximize its occupancy during the Games, it was the fact that Whistler showed the world what it was made of.

"We believe that in conjunction with all of our partners, we have been able to successfully host one of the largest events the world has seen," said Fisher.

In the first week of the Games Whistler saw anywhere from 95 to 99 per cent occupancy in its accommodation sector and between 92 and 96 per cent in the second week of the Games.

"(It was) higher than we'd hoped," said Fisher. "Because our target was to be at 90 per cent occupancy."

The sentiment of success was shared by many in Whistler as the Games drew to a close after 16 days of celebration and party and goodwill that bound the community together.

"This is the best Whistler has ever been," said Mayor Ken Melamed. "It's going to be hard for us to figure out how we're going to replicate this."

As expected, he added, the Olympics flew by in a whirlwind. It was hard to take everything in. But one of his standout moments was the lighting of Whistler's cauldron on Feb. 13 - a moment that confirmed for the mayor that Whistler's time had come.

That cauldron, and more specifically the medals plaza, served as a beacon for the community, drawing thousands to the village every night to see athletes receive their medals and enjoy the free concerts.

The mayor spoke of how pleased he was that Whistler had a medals plaza for nightly ceremonies rather than seeing the medals handed out to the athletes in Vancouver or at the separate fields of play, as planned at one time.

Business too did well from the Games, said Chamber of Commerce President Fiona Famulak.

But it all depended on the location of the business, the nature of the business and the specific type of business as to how successful each one was.

"I feel very strongly that the business community as a whole has benefited ten-fold," said Famulak. "It was an unbelievable success for all and we're looking to leverage that going forward."

And as to Whistler's future now that the big party has come and gone, Fisher said: "We truly believe that a platform has been set that has really positioned Whistler for success for the future and that we have showcased this resort not only to our regular customers but to a new worldwide audience that we could never have hoped to have seen experience Whistler in the way that we have."

Whistler Blackcomb also experienced higher than expected sightseeing visits for the Peak 2 Peak gondola during the Olympics.

A release from the municipality stated that an estimated 20,000 people daily enjoyed Whistler Live! and Whistler Medals Plaza.

"We planned for the Games, worked with our partners and have been committed to making Canada proud," Melamed said in the release. "The reality of the Games has been better than anything we could have dreamed for. This is largely due to the dedicated and tireless efforts of our partners, the Whistler community, VANOC the City of Vancouver, the City of Richmond and the Province of British Columbia, Canada and the thousands of volunteers who brought the Games to life. Thank you on behalf of the municipality and all of council."



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