Time to speak outvisi
Having read Bob Barnetts Opening Remarks this week and being one of the three Tourism Whistler board members who did not choose to run for a second term, I think its time to speak out.
I chose not to run again because I felt marginalized as a board member. I believe that I can better work to move our community forward by working with people who wish to work together to diversify our economy into a year-round tourism product. It is clear to me that the decisions rest with too few with too narrow a focus.
In my opinion we need a business plan written by an organization such as KPMG to develop and implement new year-round, segment by segment strategies such as Learning, Health and Wellness, Arts, Culture, Outdoor Recreation/Adventure Sport, etc. I believe this business plan should also make recommendations on how Tourism Whistler allocates its marketing and sales efforts. Our planets climate is rapidly changing; where is our plan? How will we bring both repeat and new guests for longer stays to the Premier Mountain Resort next year and into the future?
I believe we need transparent organizations with aligned intentions, clear goals and objectives that have a burning desire to build a year round sustainable tourism economy. Where is our employee housing? The reason so many people are trying to figure out how to get out of town, in my opinion, is simple; they have given up on trying to make change.
What happened to Whistler?
As frequent world travelers for the past 10 years and a current property owner and visitor to Whistler at least once every year since 1982, my family and I firmly believed Whistler was the best place on earth. However, several recent visits have forced me to rethink our ranking of this world class resort. We have noticed over the last several years, that none of the ski area people make conversation such as how are you doing today, where are you from or how long are you staying. The genuine concern/interest that left the impression your visit was appreciated was refreshing and unique to Whistler. References were volunteered on restaurants, things to do and special weekly activities without exception from most mountainside employees, restaurant and bar employees. No more chit chat, just give me your money and move on.
Also, locals discount signs abound, which gives the frequent visitor the impression that their money is not worth the same as someone elses. Has it become acceptable to treat the visitor (tourist) as an outsider rather than recognized as a provider of jobs in Whistler? This is still a resort isnt it or has Whistler and the growing year round population matured beyond that? Does four to five months of seasonal employment for the majority of the locals during the snow season warrant gouging the visitors as non-locals? These visitors are expected to fill the hotel beds, restaurants and many properties. We have shopped at Nesters for over 10 years, however their locals only discounts have convinced us to spend our grocery money in Squamish where our dollar is given the exact same value as everyone elses.