Tourism Whistler Membership Information

Membership Overview

Tourism Whistler is a provincially legislated mandatory membership organization. All owners of accommodation and commercial properties on Whistler’s designated Resort Lands are required to be Members of Tourism Whistler and must contribute annual assessment fees to support the organization’s ongoing development of coordinated strategies in the areas of research, destination development, market development, conference sales, communications, and marketing.

Whistler’s success is based on both its national and international appeal. Its recognition as a world-class resort is the result of strategic marketing by Tourism Whistler and its Members, and ultimately leads to long-term economic benefits for both residential property owners and the owners of commercial businesses in the resort.

Why are property owners required to be members of Tourism Whistler?

In 1979, the Provincial Development Plan called for Whistler to build a tourist resort village. Accommodation and commercial spaces developed in prime areas were designated “Resort Lands” under the Resort Municipality of Whistler Act (1975) and many properties have covenants registered on title to ensure that accommodations in these prime locations will be available for rent to tourists visiting Whistler.

The Whistler Resort Association (dba Tourism Whistler) was formed to market and promote Whistler, using assessments paid by its Members to support its marketing and sales initiatives. Membership is therefore compulsory for all owners of property on Resort Land and all Members are required to pay assessments. This principle is set out in the Whistler Resort Association Bylaws to ensure assessment contributions are raised on a fair and equitable basis. In addition, this membership requirement is registered on title to the property, so all purchasers of property on Resort Land are notified of their membership obligations.

Tourism Whistler is accountable to its Members to show results for assessment dollars. Annual membership assessment fees are invested in marketing and sales initiatives aimed at achieving Tourism Whistler’s primary objective: increasing overnight visitors to the resort, noting that an overnight visitor also participates in resort activities, dines in local restaurants, and shops in local retail stores.

Marketing and sales initiatives include brand advertising, group sales, promotional campaigns, events and media relations – all focused on attracting guests to the resort. The whistler.com website and Whistler.com Reservations (1.800.944.7853) provide a central reservation service for Whistler, ensuring that potential visitors directed to this call-to-action are given the information and support they need to book their visit to Whistler.

What are assessment fees used for?

The assessment fees paid by Members of Tourism Whistler are divided into two fee structures that fund different areas of operation for the organization.

Common Fees

These are fees payable by ALL Members of Tourism Whistler and are used to fund operations related to administration and Member services.

Commercial Fees

These are fees payable (in addition to the Common fees) by Members who use their properties for commercial purposes or whose property is located in the area designated as ‘Town Centre’. Commercial fees are used for sales, marketing, conference sales, visitor servicing, research and destination development initiatives.



Benefits of Membership

Over the long term, economic benefits are not limited solely to the owners of commercial businesses in the resort. Residents who purchase property on Resort Land acknowledge that contributions will be made to Tourism Whistler in order to market and sell the resort to the world. In turn, the positioning of Whistler as a premier year-round mountain resort has contributed to the long-term growth in property value seen by residential Members of Tourism Whistler.

All Members have access to many resources highlighted through the member website and meetings. These resources include research, marketing campaign toolkits, access to images, newsletters, and member opportunities.

Commercial Members can directly affect the visitor experience. To help provide the best experience possible, they can access maps, work with our teams to host familiarization tours , support events, or join in other promotional opportunities that are presented. Visit the Visitor Servicing page for more information.

We also work with certain Tourism Whistler commercial members to create engaging offerings for guests booking through Whistler.com. Businesses must be TW members to be eligible to be listed, but the participation in this program is not guaranteed for all members and is subject to certain rules and guidelines.

TIP: To ensure you don’t miss out on member opportunities for your business, ensure you are subscribed to receive the member newsletter, you regularly attend member meetings, and keep your business and contact information up to date with Tourism Whistler at all times by notifying membercommunications@tourismwhistler.com of any changes.

Members are also encouraged to keep their business listings current on the Whistler Business Directory using the Maintain Your Business Listing Form.


Member Categories

Tourism Whistler has four member categories: Accommodation Owners, Commercial Landlords, Commercial Tenants and Affiliates.

Accommodation Owners and Commercial Landlords are compulsory Members of Tourism Whistler.

Accommodation Owners

Accommodation Owners are owners of multi-managed or single-managed accommodation units located on Whistler’s designated Resort Lands. Accommodation owners are compulsory Members of Tourism Whistler and must pay annual assessment fees. Members in this category are assessed as a Lodging Resort Lot or Residential Resort Lot depending on the location, usage and restrictive covenants associated with their unit. Certain accommodation Owners may complete a Use Declaration Form each year to determine whether they are eligible to pay common fees only.

Commercial Landlords

Commercial Landlords are owners of commercially zoned properties located on Whistler’s designated Resort Lands. Commercial Landlords are compulsory Members of Tourism Whistler and must pay annual assessment fees. Commercial property owners either operate businesses out of their properties (for example, a food & beverage establishment or a retail shop), or act as Commercial Landlords and rent their commercial space to a Commercial Tenant (who would operate a commercial business in the space).

Commercial Tenants

Commercial Tenants are businesses operating out of a commercial space located on Whistler’s designated Resort Lands. They must have a lease and pay rent to a Commercial Landlord. Commercial Tenants automatically qualify for Tourism Whistler membership, but they must officially register their business with Tourism Whistler using the Commercial Tenant Registration Form to activate their membership status. Commercial Tenants are not required to pay additional fees to Tourism Whistler, as the mandatory membership fees are the responsibility of the Commercial Landlord.

Affiliates

Affiliates are voluntary Members of Tourism Whistler. The Affiliate Membership Program provides visitor-facing businesses operating outside of Whistler’s designated Resort Lands the opportunity to establish a formal working relationship with Tourism Whistler. The purpose of the program is to partner with businesses that fill gaps in services or visitor offerings available to Whistler guests, and to supplement the products and services offered by Commercial Tenants. Businesses interested in becoming Affiliate Members of Tourism Whistler must apply using the Affiliate Member Application Form and acceptance into the program is at the discretion of Tourism Whistler. Affiliate Members are not eligible to vote in Tourism Whistler’s annual Election of Directors.

Learn more about Tourism Whistler’s Affiliate Membership Program.

Member Fees

The assessment fee payable by each Member is based on the combined Common and Commercial Unit values of each Member’s property. A Member will pay either Common and Commercial fees or Common fees only depending on their property designation and location.

Fee rates are updated annually as directed by the Tourism Whistler Board of Directors. Please refer to the Tourism Whistler Information Package for details on how fees are calculated for each property type.

Additional questions about Tourism Whistler fees can be directed to the Assessments Department at assessments@tourismwhistler.com.

Accommodation Properties

Tourism Whistler fees are applied to accommodation properties located on Resort Lands. Which fee structure applies to a property is based on:

  • The owner’s usage of the property (commercial vs owner);
  • Location; and
  • The rental pool requirements imposed on the property by the municipal rental covenants placed on the property title.

Based on these regulations, the Tourism Whistler Bylaws classify Members into two assessment fee categories:

A: Lodging Resort Lot

Assessed with both Common and Commercial fees, accommodations in this category are zoned for Tourist Accommodation and are used for commercial purposes - i.e. the property is available for nightly/short-term rental as Tourist Accommodation for more than 14 nights cumulatively in a calendar year, or has a phase one or phase two restrictive rental covenant and is located within the designated ‘Town Centre’ (see definition of Town Centre* below).

Both Common and Commercial fees apply to properties classified as a Lodging Resort Lot.

B: Residential Resort Lot

Assessed with Common fees only, accommodations in this category are located on designated on Resort Land but are not used for commercial purposes – i.e. the property is not available for nightly/short-term rentals as Tourist Accommodation for more than 14 nights cumulatively in a calendar year, and it is not located within the designated ‘Town Centre’ with a restrictive rental pool covenant (see definition of Town Centre* below).

Only Common fees apply to properties classified as a Residential Resort Lot.

Owners of these properties must complete a Use Declaration Form (UDF) each year online to be assessed at the Residential Resort Lot Rate.

*Town Centre: The Tourism Whistler Bylaws define ‘Town Centre’ as those lands in the municipality which are commonly known as the Blackcomb Benchlands, Upper Village, Whistler Village and Whistler Village North. Accommodation properties located in Whistler’s ‘Town Centre’ that also have a restrictive rental pool covenant are always assessed as a Lodging Resort Lot.

Commercial Properties

Tourism Whistler fees are applied to commercially zoned properties located on Resort Lands. Commercial property owners either operate businesses out of their properties or act as Commercial Landlords and rent their commercial space to a Commercial Tenant. Commercial properties are always assessed as “commercial space” and therefore both Common and Commercial fees apply.

Bare Land Properties

Bare Land is undeveloped land located on Resort Land and owners are assessed a flat rate fee. Once the property is developed, the owner is required to inform Tourism Whistler of the date of completion and configuration of the property, at which point the property will be assessed at the regular assessment rates.

Rental Covenants

A rental covenant is a covenant placed on title of a property by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) at the time of development, which outlines restrictions around owner usage and rental pool requirements when the property is not in use by the owner.

Phase 1 Rental Covenant

Phase 1 covenants are intended to maximize occupancy of properties for use by owners and visitors, and allow for unlimited owner usage. However, when not in use by the owner, the covenants may require the accommodation units to be made available to the public through a rental pool. Note: Individual Phase 1 property strata management policies may be more specific regarding owner usage and rental pool requirements.

Phase 1 Covenants can be:

  • Restrictive: Allows unlimited owner usage and requires that the unit be placed in a rental pool when not in use by the owner. Tourism Whistler Member property designations in this category include:
    • Phase 1 Town Centre: Properties located wholly or partly within the ‘Town Centre’ with a Phase 1 rental covenant, which allows unlimited owner usage; however, when the property is not in use by the owner, it must be placed in a rental pool. These properties are always assessed as a Lodging Resort Lot
  • Non-Restrictive: Allows unlimited owner usage but does not require that the unit be placed in a rental pool when not in use by the owner. Non-Restrictive Phase 1 properties will be assessed as a Lodging Resort Lot if used for commercial purposes. However, if the unit is NOT available for rent to the public for 14 nights or less cumulatively in a calendar year, the Member can submit a Use Declaration Form (See UDF* details below) declaring non-commercial use and upon approval will be assessed as a Residential Resort Lot. Tourism Whistler Member property designations in this category include:
    • Permissive Phase 1 Town Centre: Properties located in the ‘Town Centre’ with a Phase 1 covenant, which allows unlimited owner use. When the owner is not using the property, it is not required to be placed in a rental pool.
    • Phase 1 Outside Town Centre: Properties located outside of the ‘Town Centre’ with a Phase 1 covenant, which gives unlimited owner usage. When the owner is not using the property, it is not required to be in a rental pool.

*Use Declaration Forms: For eligible properties, a Use Declaration Form (UDF) must be completed each year declaring whether the property is being used for commercial purposes. If the property is not being used for commercial purposes, the property will be assessed as a Residential Resort Lot and only Common Fees will apply.


Phase 2 Rental Covenant

Phase 2 covenants allow owners to use their units 56 days per year: 28 days during the winter and 28 days during the summer. Note: Individual Phase 2 property strata management policies may be more specific about exactly when an owner is allowed to use the unit.

Phase 2 rental covenants require that all units must be available for commercial rental to the public at all times except for during the limited owner use. The property must be listed in a single, integrated rental pool, as selected by the strata owners.

Phase 2 covenants are always Restrictive and assessed as a Lodging Resort Lot. Tourism Whistler Member property designations in this category include:

  • Phase 2 Town Centre: Properties located in the ‘Town Centre’ with a Phase 2 covenant (which restricts owner usage to 28 days per winter season and 28 days per summer season), with the property required to be in a rental pool when not in use by the owner.
  • Phase 2: Properties located outside of the ‘Town Centre’ with a Phase 2 covenant (which restricts owner usage to 28 days per winter season and 28 days per summer season), with the property required to be in a rental pool when not in use by the owner.

No Rental Covenant

These properties are located on Resort Lands, but do not have a rental covenant issued on the property title. Some properties with no rental covenants can be assessed as either a Residential Resort Lot or Lodging Resort Lot depending on owner usage. Tourism Whistler Member property designations in this category include:

  • Residential Town Centre: Properties located in the ‘Town Centre’ with no restrictive Phase 1 or Phase 2 covenants. Owners are eligible to submit a UDF to have their properties assessed as a Residential Resort Lot. If no UDF is submitted, the property will be assessed as a Lodging Resort Lot.
  • Residential: Properties located outside of the ‘Town Centre’ with no restrictive Phase 1 or Phase 2 covenants. Owners can submit a UDF to have their properties assessed as a Residential Resort Lot. If no UDF is submitted, the property will be assessed as a Lodging Resort Lot.

Additionally, some properties on Resort Land with no rental covenants are always assessed as a Residential Resort Lot. Tourism Whistler Member property designations in this category include:

  • Not TA Zoned: Properties that are located on Resort Land, but are not zoned for Tourist Accommodation. These properties are always assessed as a Residential Resort Lot with no requirement to complete a UDF.
  • WHA Occupancy Restricted: Properties that are located on Resort Land, but occupancy is restricted to local employees & retirees. These properties are always assessed as a Residential Resort Lot with no requirement to complete a UDF.