Mountain Resort Community Success Factors: Whistler, Canada Case Study

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1 Mountain Resort Community Success Factors: Whistler, Canada Case Study Dr. Peter Williams Centre For Tourism Policy and Research Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada

2 North American Mountain Resort Destination Characteristics Market Dependency Responsiveness to market Constant reinvention Constant repositioning

3 Mountain Resort Community Characteristics Community Dependency Functionality (socio-cultural, economic) Sense of place (quality of life, safety, hospitality, vibrancy) Environmental quality (natural ecosystem health and attractiveness)

4 Mountain Resort Community: Evolving Economic Base Visitor Revenues Overnight Tourists Second Home Day Tourists Employees Resident Revenues Retirees Employees Entrepreneurs Expert Services Markets Consultants Travel trade Real Estate Revenues Transaction Based Realtors Bankers Construction Planners Builders Suppliers Maintenance Property management Renovation Other Revenues Expert Businesses Assembly Manufacturing Wellness Government Taxes Fees Non-Profits Cultural Conservation Recreation Increasing economic diversity

5 Whistler Resort Community Case Study

6 Whistler Resort Community Multiple #1 North American ski destination rankings First-ever designated Olympic Host Mountain Resort Host Mountain Resort 2010 Winter Olympics Multiple resort design and innovation awards Uniquely entrepreneurial governance system (communitycorporate hybrid)

7 Whistler Resort Community Integrated resort community design Extensive capacity, design, use, taxation powers Purpose-built Mountain Resort Community ~11,000 permanent residents ~ 4,000 seasonal workers Managed growth limit ~61,588 bed-units -28% tourism Year round tourism operations ~2+ million overnight visitors

8 Whistler Resort Pedestrian Village Commercial services base camp linked to mountain and valley attractions Whistler Resort s Base Camp Experience Thematically designed and controlled mix of: lodging (~60% of tourist bed-units) food /beverage (~150 ) retail (~250) financial /real estate health and security Community animated public venues public plazas, theatres, play areas, libraries, cultural centres

9 Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Whistler Resort s Mountain Experience # 1 North American Resort - skiable terrain ~3307 hectares - snowfall ~1,192 cms - vertical drop ~1609 metres - trails ~200 - lifts (37) - lift capacity (65,507 pph) On-mountain facilities - ski-school: ~220,000 lessons - food /beverage: 4,500 seating - retail /equipment sales /rental Off-mountain village facilities ~10% of food/beverage ~12% of retail, entertainment ~50% of equipment rental/sales

10 Whistler Blackcomb Markets and Performance 2012 Geographic Regional ~63% (skier visits) Long haul ~37% (skier visits) Ticket Revenues Single / multiple day ~61% Seasonal ~39% Mature, Stable Market Season Revenues Winter (Nov-May) ~85% Summer (Jun-Oct) ~15% Overall Skier Visits ~2.1 million ~2.7% of North American market ~10.6% of Canadian market Overall Revenues ~ $235 million US.

11 Whistler Blackcomb Corporate Governance Ownership -Mergers, acquisitions, private equity and hedge fund investors, publicly traded equity partners Evolving Interests /Focus Boards of Directors -domestic, international, corporate, investor groups Business Focus -mountain operations, real estate, leisure and travel products, lodging, retail, guest experience, community collaboration, partnerships, sustainability, etc. Current Focus -mountain operations, product diversification, sustainability

12 Whistler s Governance Evolution 1980s Growth Machine Era: Corporate Driven Priorities Infrastructure, Real Estate, Market Development 1990s Growth Management Era: Environmentally Driven Priorities Growth Limit Cap (55,000 bed-units) Growth Impact Planning and Monitoring 2000s Sustainability Management Era: Community Consensus-Driven Priorities Econ., Social, Environ. Collaborations 2010s Economic Resilience?

13 The Common Connecting Thread: Whistler 2020 A comprehensive, community-wide, long term sustainability vision and plan

14 The Guiding Vision Whistler will be the Premier Mountain Resort Community as we move toward sustainability

15 Whistler s Consensus Based Success Factors Build community pride and spirit Create attractive and affordable community Ensure social programs meet diverse needs Protect unique community experience Experience exceed expectation Demonstrate sustainable practices Instill entrepreneurial spirit View natural environment as an asset /attraction Protect water and air qualities Protect biodiversity Nurture economic health Diversify tourism economy Promote recreation and leisure lifestyles Communicate shared vision and priorities Nurture strong social capital networks Encourgae shared stakeholder governance Enriching Community Life Enhancing the Resort Experience Protecting the Environment Ensuring Economic Viability Partnering for Success

16 Strategy Development Focus MATERIALS & SOLID WASTE RESIDENT AFFORDABILITY NATURAL AREAS ARTS, CULTURE & HERITAGE VISITOR EXPERIENCE RMOW Staff (CAO) RMOW Staff (Village Animation) Resort TV Network RECREATION RESIDENT Hotel Westin & LEISURE HOUSING Whistler Farmers Market Village Hosts Respect Whistler Committee Small Business Sector BUILT TRANSPORTATION Hotel Operators Tourism Whistler ENVIRONMENT Small Business Sector RMOW Council VANOC, Whistler office Whistler ENERGY Blackcomb HEALTH & RMOW (Resort Experience SOCIAL GM) Hotel- Delta Whistler Suites Tourism Whistler Whistler Chamber of Commerce FOOD WATER Property management LEARNING ECONOMIC RMOW Council Whistler Accessibility Project Advisory Group

17 Priorities, Strategies, and Core Indicators 1. Enriching Community Life STRATEGIES Art, Culture & Heritage Built Environment Energy Health & Social Learning Materials & Solid Waste Recreation & Leisure Resident Affordability Resident Housing Transportation Water CORE INDICATORS Local Workforce Resident Satisfaction Recreation Opportunities Health Status Learning Opportunities Affordability

18 Priorities, Strategies, and Core Indicators 2. Enriching the Resort Experience STRATEGIES Art, Culture & Heritage Built Environment Health & Social Learning Recreation & Leisure Natural Areas Transportation Visitor Experience CORE INDICATORS Visitor Number Intention to Recommend Visitor Satisfaction

19 Vision Implementation through Entrepreneurial Governance Common vision directions, priorities, language Strong leadership navigators for journey Social license to operate -consensus to take action Legal license to operate -tools to take action (legal, financial, technical) Social Capital Network -partners to get the job done

20 Towards Seamless Experience Delivery Whistler Blackcomb - on-mountain experience -development, operations, -marketing/sales Tourism Whistler - destination brand /experience - valley marketing/sales -village events /festivals - Resort Municipality of Whistler - resort community experience -community planning, land use, -public infrastructure and services 20

21 Thank You

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