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We also continue to invest in our business to provide our guests with the service and food quality they have come to expect from us.

Brian Dixon

General Manager Wild Wood Pacific Bistro

Have we forgotten the People in the Cultural Tourism Strategy?

It's with great interest that I attended John Rae's (manager of RMOW strategic partnerships) presentation last week ... and read the new Cultural Tourism Strategy and the related articles in your paper of March 17, 2011.  However I was quite surprised, even shocked, that there was no mention of the other cultures, except for the First Nations, when one of the five cultural Tourism Clusters identified in the strategy is Human Heritage.

Let's look a bit deeper. The strengths: the Sea to Sky Corridor has a high number of people from different cultures that live, work and play here.

These cultural cohorts become a very valuable asset to target new cultural markets and also markets that are interested in cultural tourism.

For example, Squamish has 10 per cent of its community that is of South Indian descent.

This is key, as there are more than 280,000 people with the same culture in Mainland Vancouver and as more people start travelling from India. India is one of the emerging countries and its people will be travelling and discovering other parts of the world. LOKL, a multilingual website for the corridor is already getting the highest number of traffic from their Punjabi site with over 950 unique visitors per day.

Whistler has also one of the largest percentages of residents speaking both official languages in the province with 17.7 per cent compared with 7.7 per cent for the rest of B.C.

This francophone reality is also visible in our daily lives with the three French schools in the corridor and the 300 plus children that are studying in the French Immersion Program in Whistler and Squamish.

The dynamism of the Francophone community was also seen last year with the very successful St-Jean-Baptiste celebration held in Squamish.

This year the group is even developing their own beer that will be brewed by Howe Sound Brewery.

We should be working with our local Francophone community to target skiers from Quebec that are passionate about their culture.

(For more of this letter please go to )

Nicole Guertin,