Following the money 

RMOW commissions consultants for detailed economic study of resort

click to enlarge ECONOMic drivers
  • ECONOMic drivers

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It's the data that will go a long way in forming the committee's future recommendations on how to grow Whistler's resort community economy, build confidence in the economy and encourage re-investment.

There is a wealth of information already in the community — room night numbers from Tourism Whistler, skier visits from Whistler Blackcomb, to name a few.

Still, the committee members are looking for answers to deeper questions, answers that consider Whistler as a whole.

"Really what we want to do is we want to build our competitive advantage," said Fisher. "We want to ensure that Whistler has compelling, desirable, leading edge products that motivate visitors to choose Whistler over other resort destinations."

The key, to some extent, lies within the data.

"You can make these things incredibly wide-ranging and then somewhat meaningless, or too narrow and somewhat meaningless," said Faulkner. "So part of this way trying to find a balance to getting to the salient, most crucial nub of what defines us as an economic entity."

Whistler Blackcomb's president and CEO Dave Brownlie emphasized the importance of gathering the facts when the committee was first struck in September.

"We've got to be careful that we prioritize and put our resources in the right area and don't distribute them and try and do everything," said Brownlie. "If we try and do everything we may not accomplish anything, as opposed to focusing on those key drivers that are going to make a difference for us for the future.

"I think what's important in this whole thing is we get the facts on the table."

Six proposals were submitted to the municipality last week in response to the Request For Proposals (RFP) on Resort Community Economic Activity and Economic Sector Analysis.

In addition to the primary study, the consultants will also produce a "benchmarking addendum" overview, which will, according to the RFP:

"... identify key economic trends, investments and economic planning initiatives currently, or recently undertaken at select benchmark North American and European ski resort destinations providing competitive commentary on the initiatives as well as a brief review of the appropriateness of these initiatives for consideration within the Whistler context."

The contract will be awarded the week of December 3 to 7.

A draft report is to be delivered within 75 days of the signed contract with a final report due within 100 days.

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