Visitor Accommodation

Chapter 5

What it’s about

Maintaining a diverse supply of visitor accommodation that offers a consistent and high quality visitor experience.

Whistler’s diverse accommodation offerings provide a variety of locations, amenities and services that fulfil visitor expectations and help maintain Whistler’s position as a world-class destination resort community. Visitor accommodations and tourism capacities have achieved a healthy balance, resulting in sustained occupancy rates and revenues. Nightly rentals and tourist accommodations have not displaced residential uses and housing in Whistler’s residential neighbourhoods. Constant monitoring of occupancies and visitation helps Whistler target and maintain sustainable levels.

A supportive reinvestment strategy has facilitated maintenance and enhancement of visitor accommodation properties, thereby helping Whistler to remain internationally competitive. Reinvestment has incorporated green building practices and Universal Design to further the diversity, sustainability and accessibility of the visitor accommodation sector.

Whistler’s early introduction and ongoing commitment to its ‘warm bed’ policy has been instrumental in the growth of the resort as an international destination. This policy, supported by zoning and title restrictions like covenants, provides a secure supply of visitor accommodation to Whistler’s visitors in proximity to resort amenities. The availability of these ‘beds’ is maximized for visitor use, supporting the resort, recreation infrastructure and the tourism economy.

Whistler’s visitor accommodation bed base includes a diverse offering of hotels, inns, lodges, hostels, pensions, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks and vacation rentals. The majority of tourist accommodation properties have title restrictions requiring availability of the property for visitor use under various terms.

The municipality recognizes that there are cycles of increased and decreased visitation to Whistler, which are related to a variety of factors like global economic conditions. For instance, after an extended period of increasing visitation that supported an expanding accommodation base, Whistler experienced its first declines in overnight visitation in spring 2001. In more recent years, Whistler’s visitor accommodation sector has been experiencing stronger economic performance than ever before: higher occupancy rates, higher average daily room rates and positive returns on investment for unit owners.

Continual reinvestment in accommodation properties is critical to the visitor experience and ongoing success of Whistler as a destination resort community.

Click the ‘Objectives & Policies’ to display additional content.

5.5. Goal Maintain an appropriate supply and variety of visitor accommodation to support Whistler’s sustainable year-round tourism economy.

5.5.1. Objective

Maintain a broad range of accommodation offerings to serve visitor needs. Policy

Provide a diverse supply of visitor accommodation that meets visitor needs, supports the unique mountain experience, responds to market trends and provides a variety of locations, unit types and associated amenities compatible with adjacent uses. Policy

Maintain zoning and covenant restrictions to ensure an appropriate mix and secure supply of visitor accommodation. Policy

Balance the visitor accommodation supply with Whistler’s resort community capacity and growth management principles. Policy

Carefully consider any proposed additions to the supply of visitor accommodation to complement and support the viability of existing accommodations, meet an identified visitor need, support the unique mountain experience, and address balanced resort and community capacity. Policy

Conduct annual updates of the accommodation land use inventory and use key visitor accommodation trends and performance indicators to inform policies and guide future land use decisions. Policy

Continue to monitor occupancies and the availability of properties for visitor use, along with trends in visitor needs and expectations. Policy

Support strategies and initiatives to maintain sustainable and stable occupancies. Policy

Actively enforce against illegal visitor accommodation use of residential properties.

5.5.2. Objective

Use a variety of approaches to achieve a consistently high quality visitor experience for Whistler’s visitor accommodations. Policy

Support provision of visitor accommodation facilities, amenities and services that exceed visitor expectations across a range of service levels, while maintaining the unique mountain experience. Policy

Support an appropriate and competitive supply of full-service visitor accommodation. Policy

Investigate opportunities to facilitate the private sector in providing an enhanced experience for all visitor accommodation types. Policy

Encourage and support the provision of adequate space and facilities within visitor accommodation developments for operations and guest services, and consider alternative service delivery models, such as shared facilities, where appropriate. Policy

Support ongoing renewal, renovation and redevelopment of visitor accommodations to maintain a high quality visitor experience and remain internationally competitive. Policy

Facilitate property maintenance and reinvestment to ensure visitor accommodations provide a high quality visitor experience. Policy

Require a high standard of quality for building and property maintenance and for all renovation, redevelopment and development projects utilizing available mechanisms such as development permit requirements, covenants and a property maintenance bylaw. Policy

Encourage collaboration to facilitate continued reinvestment, enhancement and maintenance of visitor accommodation properties. Policy

Support sustainable management and use of materials, energy and water in Whistler’s visitor accommodations. Policy

Require all new buildings and renovations to be built with environmentally sustainable methods, standards and technologies, including by implementing the BC Energy Step Code. Policy

Require the provision of adequate space within visitor accommodation developments for waste reduction (recycling and composting) operations and services. Policy

Require developments to meet municipal wildfire mitigation guidelines.

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