The Resort Municipality of Whistler is leading a review of policies and regulations related to Whistler’s tourism accommodation (TA) properties to help ensure we are meeting the changing needs of Whistler’s visitors and the resort community.
Tourist Accommodation Review
We are in the situation analysis phase of this project, which includes research on customer expectations and online booking trends, as well as an inventory of Whistler's existing tourist accomodation properties, policies, regulations and uses.
The municipality is leading a review of policies and regulations related to Whistler’s tourism accommodation (TA) properties. The process will consist of:
- an extensive review of the existing situation, including research on trends in online booking systems and customer expectations regarding services and amenities; and
- an inventory of Whistler’s existing tourist accommodation properties, policies, regulations and uses.
The process will engage resort partners, tourist accommodation stakeholders and the general public to gain insights, provide information, and obtain feedback.
The project may ultimately result in tourist accommodation policy and regulation changes aimed at most effectively governing Whistler’s tourist accommodation properties for the benefit of Whistler’s visitors and resort community.
The Tourist Accommodation Review project supports existing municipal policies and regulations.The objectives below are fundamental to the project and are drawn from existing RMOW plans/policies including Whistler2020, the Official Community Plan (current and under preparation), Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303.
- Prohibit nightly rentals in residential areas.
- Protect Whistler’s visitor accommodation bed base.
- Support the visitor experience and service quality levels.
- Provide a range of accommodation types/arrangements to meet diverse visitor demographics and needs.
- Support efficient property management, operations, maintenance and reinvestment in accommodation offerings.
- Provide clarity and certainty regarding Tourist Accommodation use requirements and rental arrangements.
Whistler’s early introduction and ongoing commitment to its "warm beds" strategy has been instrumental in the growth of the resort as an international destination. This policy, supported by zoning and title restrictions, has provided a secure supply of overnight accommodation available to Whistler’s visitors in proximity to its amenities.
Learning from the experience of other resorts, the Resort Municipality of Whistler looked at the challenges created by second homeowners in and near the Village, who use their units infrequently, leaving them vacant for much of the year. Fewer visits by such homeowners result in decreased business for commercial enterprises that require a regular flow of customers to sustain their operations, provide steady employment to locals and keep the community running smoothly. And vacant homes don't contribut to vibrancy or sustainability.
Whistler responded by creating two innovative property covenants -- one requires the property to be available to rent by visitors or other renters when the owner is absent, and a second, for properties in the Village core, limits owner use to 28 nights in winter and 28 in summer. At all other times, the units must be available for rent by visitors, with most hotel units falling under this covenant.
The visitor accommodation base now includes a diverse offering of commercial accommodations such as hotels, inns and lodges, as well as accommodations that may be used for either residential use or visitor use. Within this commercial capacity the majority of properties have title restrictions requiring availability of the unit for visitor use under various terms.
The accommodation mix was established 30 to 40 years ago, and trends in tourism and booking have evolved since that time. The Tourist Accommodation Review will look at issues related to current regulations and updates or new policy required.
The project was initiated spring 2016 and is expected to continue through summer 2017, following these four phases:
- Situation analysis and policy directions (June 2016 – February 2017)
- Policy document and regulation framework (March – May 2017)
- Regulations and enforcement procedures (May – July 2017)
- Implementation (August 2017 onwards)
The process is engaging resort partners, tourist accommodation stakeholders and the general public to gain insights, provide information, and obtain feedback.
Interviews were used to connect with stakeholder representatives over the summer and fall of 2016. An online survey will be used to gather input from all stakeholders and community members early 2017.
Download answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Tourist Accommodation Review project.
- Official Community Plan
- Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015
- Temporary Tourist Accommodation Regulations
- Economic Partnership Initiative