Tourism Whistler endorses 2010 Olympic bid 

On the same day Whistler and Vancouver were shortlisted for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games Tourism Whistler endorsed the bid.

"We are proud to be doing so," Barrett Fisher, vice president marketing strategy and business development for Tourism Whistler, said Wednesday.

"We recognize the importance of the 2010 Olympic bid and its importance to tourism."

Tourism Whistler has already been in touch with several other cities which have hosted past Games to learn more about how they marketed the event.

One of the most important things learned so far from Sydney, Australia, Salt Lake City and Park City, said Fisher, is to start early.

"One of the greatest challenges that those destinations had was they embraced a tourism strategy and a communication strategy far too late in the game," said Fisher.

To avoid the same pitfall Tourism Whistler is already working with Tourism Vancouver, Tourism British Columbia and the Canadian Tourism Commission on a plan they can roll out next July should Vancouver be chosen as the host city of the 2010 Games.

"If successful we will have a seven year ramp-up to the Olympics, rather than waiting until one or two years out as some others have done in the past," said Fisher.

"What that tourism strategy will ultimately entail is looking at ways to ensure that the business of tourism is maximized for the resort.

"For example, how do we drive meetings and incentive business here? How do we ensure that we protect and grow our leisure business, and how do we maximize the benefits of the Olympics to ensure that we are not only looking at the ramp-up prior to the Olympics, but also the opportunities during and post the Olympics.

"We will not be focusing on one, two-week window. We will be looking at a 15-year window and how we can maximize the benefits of the Olympics for the resort as a whole, not only for our tourists, but also for our community."

Tourism Whistler will be hiring a full time employee to look after all things Olympics for the organization, with the hope being that no opportunity is overlooked for the community and the members of Tourism Whistler.

Fisher strongly believes that being shortlisted offers the resort a new opportunity to keep itself in the forefront of the traveller’s mind.

"In the customer’s mind… you always have to be reinventing yourself," she said.

"You can never be yesterday’s news. Whistler may be on the forefront of consumer’s minds today but that is not to say that when a new resort comes on the scene or the competitive marketplace gets stronger that ultimately we do become yesterday news.

"So if Whistler is truly going to be on the leading edge then we must continually be reinventing ourselves."

Tourism Whistler believes the Olympics are a true symbol for the resort as it upholds the very essence of what makes the town successful.

"The 2010 Olympics, we believe, is consistent with who we are as a resort," said Fisher.

"It reflects sport and youth and recreation and that is what Whistler is about.

"That is the essence of what makes Whistler successful today and we believe all of those things combined with the profile and exposure that we will receive clearly as a result of the Games is very important to keeping Whistler top-of-mind to the customer."

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bid in June, after conducting research and gaining feedback on members’ concerns. Those concerns were addressed in a series of presentations and discussions and researched by a chamber delegation that went to Salt Lake City and Park City.

Whistler Council has yet to officially endorse the Olympic bid, although it’s believed all council members support it. Whistler has been waiting for final wording in an indemnity agreement with the province and some other legacies the province will provide to the municipality regardless of whether the bid is successful or not.

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