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TED drops simulcast conference after two years in Whistler

TEDActive off the calendar for 2016

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TEDActive, the more intimate offshoot of the renowned TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference, will not return to Whistler in 2016; the event has been removed from the TED calendar next year.

Tourism Whistler learned of the decision a few months ago.

Karen Goodwin, Tourism Whistler's vice president of market development and sales, said it was a disappointing turn of events after hosting TEDActive for the past two years.

"It was a good piece of business as far as a group piece of business," she said.

Each year, in 2014 and 2015, TEDActive brought roughly 3,500 room nights to Whistler in March.

While it was good business, one of the challenges was the sheer magnitude of the brand itself and the constraints around aligning Whistler with that brand.

"I think we hoped we could leverage TED more than we were able to," admitted Goodwin.

The TED conference moved to Vancouver in 2014 for at least two years after decades at Long Beach, California. TEDActive, which simulcasts the TED talks, as well as providing other unique programming, moved to Whistler for those two years too.

Then, earlier this year TED announced it was returning to Vancouver for 2016, holding its conference Feb. 15 to 19 with a theme called "Dream."

When asked why TEDActive was not part of TED's 2016 programming, TED's director of content and former host of TEDActive Kelly Stoetzel, emailed:

"We're constantly evaluating our conferences and making changes to what we do and don't produce in a given year. Our TEDGlobal and TEDWomen conferences, for example, have moved cities, changed seasons and even taken time off in the past. While we won't hold TEDActive in 2016, we do plan to bring elements from the TEDActive experience into new and re-imagined events."

People will be able to gather at locally organized TEDx events around the world to watch the live stream of TED for a day, she added.

TEDActive first started in 2008 in Aspen. It then moved to Palm Springs, closer to the main TED event in Long Beach.

When asked about the challenges hosting the conference in Whistler Stoetzel said both conferences sold out.

"Whistler is one of the most breathtaking locations we've ever chosen for a TED event," she added. "We loved it, and our TEDActive conference attendees love it."

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