Destination Stewardship

What is Destination Stewardship?

According to the Travel Foundation, Destination Stewardship is a holistic approach to tourism management that considers the environmental and social context of a destination to better understand tourism’s wider impacts. A stewardship approach prioritizes collaboration between destination stakeholders to develop a shared vision of what the future of tourism should look like in line with the triple bottle line of people, planet and profit.

Tourism Whistler defines Destination Stewardship as approaching tourism through the lens of social, environmental, cultural and economic success. It is about broadening our traditional marketing and promotional focus to embrace new tourism strategies that balance the needs of local residents, businesses, employees, visitors and the environment.

Our Destination Stewardship journey began in 2017 when Tourism Whistler’s President & CEO publicly declared the organization’s commitment to responsible tourism. As a first step, Tourism Whistler embarked on a first of its kind holistic stakeholder engagement process and Place Branding exercise. The results of this important work, which took over a year to complete, was presented to Tourism Whistler Members and community partners in late 2019 and has since laid the foundation of our ongoing Destination Stewardship approach.

Key Areas of Focus

Protect the Environment and Whistler’s Outdoor Spaces

Whistler cares deeply for the environment and Tourism Whistler acknowledges we all have a role to play in preserving the area’s natural beauty. Aligned with the Resort Municipality’s Big Moves Strategy, Tourism Whistler is working with resort partners to achieve the community’s shared goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% below 2007 levels by 2030. This involves developing and improving sustainable practices and policies within the Tourism Whistler organization and working collaboratively with Member businesses. Examples include promoting local businesses with strong sustainability practices, encouraging visitors to make sustainable travel choices, and helping meeting and incentive partners to plan environmentally responsible meetings at the Whistler Conference Centre. Learn more.

Nurture a Vibrant, Balanced and Resilient Year-Round Tourism Economy

Whistler was built for tourism and to welcome visitors from around the world; however, we sometimes experience strain on our local infrastructure during high volume peak season periods. That is why Tourism Whistler is focused on achieving a comfortable carrying capacity by levelling out the peaks and boosting the valleys in resort occupancy to create more balanced visitation and to ensure Whistler has a vibrant, prosperous, year-round tourism economy. We are taking steps to achieve this goal through strategic marketing programs, Destination Expereince initiatives, and resort programming and dispersion strategies.

Enhance the Visitor Experience and Encourage Responsible Visitor Behaviours

Tourism Whistler is committed to ensuring our destination delivers a great guest experience for all visitors. The better we can manage the end-to-end customer journey, from the path to purchase to the in-resort experience, the better our ability to ensure guest stories and word of mouth are positive, in turn influencing other potential visitors. To achieve this, we collect visitor research and customer feedback to identify pain points and gaps in the resort experience. We then aim to take a leadership role with the business community and our Members to create innovative solutions to problem areas and to facilitate the creation of new experiences and/or improvements to existing products and experiences to cultivate memorable interactions between visitors and locals that are aligned with the Whistler Brand.

We simultaneously work to encourage responsible visitor behaviours by providing Responsible Travel resources on, creating responsible travel and Know Before You Go content, and collaborating with regional and industry partners on educational initiatives such as the Don’t Love It To Death campaign.

Promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA)

Tourism Whistler recognizes that considering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) in our tourism strategies is critical to the sustainability of our destination. It is important that from the visitor’s perspective, Whistler is seen as welcoming and inclusive to all. This is why Tourism Whistler is committed to elevating socio-cultural diversity in our marketing efforts, focusing on values-based storytelling, and providing helpful trip-planning resources to visitors such as those found on our Accessibility and 2SLGBTQIA+ pages.

Honour and Celebrate Whistler’s Culture & Heritage

Tourism Whistler acknowledges that we live, work, and play on the shared traditional territories of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation. Through content creation and storytelling, we seek to honour and celebrate their history, culture and language.

We also seek to honour Whistler’s modern history, from its humble beginnings as a fishing lodge in 1914, to serving as the Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. From its earliest beginnings, Whistler has been seen as a treasured destination for all those with an adventurous spirit.

Work Collaboratively to Cultivate a Desirable, Livable Community

Tourism Whistler believes that in order to be successful, Whistler must balance a vibrant, prosperous destination with a desirable, livable community. The work conducted through our Place Branding exercise identified that a harmonious balance between the needs of visitors, residents and businesses is ultimately Whistler desired future. Tourism Whistler’s Long-Term Tourism Vision & Strategy and Annual Business Plans outline the key focus areas and actions the organization is taking to achieve this goal.

Destination Stewardship Resources

Get Involved!

Teamwork makes the dream work! While Tourism Whistler is committed to taking a leadership role in Destination Stewardship, we can’t do it alone. Collaboration between resort stakeholders, local businesses, residents and visitors is critical to ensuring Whistler has a bright, prosperous future.

Members interested in supporting Tourism Whistler’s destination management efforts can do so by:

  • Participating in Member Opportunities designed to balance visitor volumes and improve the visitor experience.
  • Leveraging our Messaging Toolkits through their own visitor communications and marketing efforts.
  • Aligning with Tourism Whistler’s seasonal marketing strategies and campaigns.
  • Not promoting sensitive areas/experiences in Whistler to visitors – for example, floating the River of Golden Dreams in plastic inflatable devices.
  • Avoiding imagery in summer marketing that includes campfires or fireworks (due to the extreme fire risk in Whistler during the peak summer months).
  • Encouraging visitors to protect Whistler’s wildlife and environment by being Bear Smart and Fire Smart.
  • Educating visitors on responsible backcountry recreation by sharing AdventureSmart principals.
  • Discouraging the use of single-use plastics.
  • Promoting shared and active transportation options.