February 18, 2011 Features & Images » Feature Story

Olympic Games raise profile of Whistler as cultural destination 

Continued funding key to ongoing success

Page 6 of 6

While most of the funds that were allocated to Whistler's arts programming had to be used for the Games themselves, Niedermayer sees another potential return on the Games-time performance.

"I think how we made sure that there was a legacy in our delivery and in the awareness, and I think that we are in a different world, where some of the funds may not be there - provincial funds and probably even federal and gaming, for sure, has not been there - but I think we've opened other doors."

One of those "doors" leads to a brand-new festival, events and animation strategy, developed in conjunction with the RMOW and Tourism Whistler, which could potentially see $2.685 million allocated annually for five years from the Resort Municipality Initiative funds for festivals, events and animation. That, coupled with the Cultural Tourism study, could spell success for Whistler's arts and culture community.

"I'm very optimistic, we just need to absolutely stay on track," she pauses. "And a report is as strong as the people that implement it. It's a report, it's a piece of paper: you can put it on your shelf, you can burn it."

Now, they need to focus on moving their agenda forward and ticking action items off their list, and they have only a few more years to capitalize on their Olympic momentum.

"It's not just the Olympics, it's also building Whistler as a cultural tourism destination, long-term," says Niedermayer.

"People do travel for culture, so regardless of whether you were a host of the Olympics or not, its tapping into that broader market."



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