Squamish got some unexpected major media attention last week when CNN Money declared the town the best mountain town destination this summer. The positive media attention comes on the strength of the official opening of the Sea to Sky Gondola.
The online media outlet connected to the world's first cable television news service put Squamish ahead of Whistler and Crested Butte because Squamish is under the radar of most vacationers. According to CNN Money, Squamish is also a great place for rock climbing, kiteboarding, kayaking, bird watching and craft beer drinking.
Squamish Chamber of Commerce president Chris Pettingill just returned from the BC Chamber annual general meeting where Destination BC CEO Marsha Walden talked about how business leaders on vacation sometimes fall in love with a place then subsequently move their business there.
"We tend to think about tourism only in terms of vacation but it is beneficial in terms of growing business, growing investment," said Pettingill.
He said a number of Squamish's business owners vacationed there before relocating to the town. Pettingill pointed to himself as a prime example of a business owner who came for a holiday and decided to relocate.
The second choice of CNN Money for a mountain vacation this summer was Crested Butte in Colorado with its Evolution Bike Park. The park boasts 40 kilometres of mountain bike trails.
The accolades keep coming for communities in the Sea to Sky, with Whistler recently named as the Best Ski Resort in the World by readers of European quarterly, Ultratravel magazine.
The glossy is the U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph's travel publication, and, with a print run of 600,000, it is the most widely distributed luxury travel magazine in Europe.
"We are thrilled that Whistler has been recognized by readers of Ultratravel magazine as the best ski resort in the world," said Tourism Whistler president Barrett Fisher in a release. "Whistler continues to be acknowledged around the globe with accolades from our guests and our peers.
"The success of Whistler is a result of our combined efforts as a community and a resort. We are fortunate to have a strong business community that is aligned in their commitment to service excellence."
The award is just one of a slew of recent accolades for Whistler and resort businesses, including recognition as one of the top 10 Canadian destinations by Trip Advisor. Both the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Four Seasons Resort Whistler were also named as two of the Best Hotels and Resorts of the Americas by lifestyle travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler.
-with files from Brandon Barrett