October 21, 2008: Tourism students benefit in 2010 from partnership with Tourism Whistler

      October 21, 2008
      Contact: Shelley Kean
      Tel: 604.983.7596

      (WHISTLER, B.C.) — Whistler’s tourism industry and local tourism students are the big winners in a new partnership formed between Capilano University and Tourism Whistler.

      The innovative agreement will provide students in Capilano University’s 16-month Destination Resort Management diploma program with a paid practicum with Tourism Whistler during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. A similar arrangement between Capilano University and Tourism Vancouver will allow another contingent of students to work in Vancouver during the Games.

      Students will assume leadership positions within the visitor services departments at both Tourism Whistler and Tourism Vancouver. They will utilize their skills to deliver and support exceptional spectator servicing at one of the many satellite visitor centres that will be operating throughout the city and the Resort during the Games.

      “Before the 2010 Winter Games were awarded, Capilano began exploring ways that it could involve its students in real-life learning experiences during the event,” said Capilano’s president, Dr. Greg Lee. “This partnership will further our own strategy to “Educate! Participate! Celebrate!” by creating a phenomenal internship opportunity for our students as part of the 2010 Games.”

      The visitor centres will provide a range of visitor services, including transportation, attractions, sightseeing, accommodation information and reservations, as well as being key distribution points for Winter Games information. Capilano’s tourism students will be involved in all aspects of facility operation, from facility management to personnel training to ensuring that international visitors receive information and services that exceeds their expectations in every way.

      “This is an important project that will provide a valuable resource for Whistler as we aim to ensure that our visitors have the best possible experience at the Resort during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” said Barrett Fisher, president and CEO of Tourism Whistler.

      One in every 14 jobs in B.C. is directly related to the tourism industry; when indirect tourism jobs are also considered, that number rises to approximately one in every eight. Research conducted in the province has shown that B.C. will need 84,000 new tourism workers in the coming years.

      “There is always a demand for well-trained, highly-skilled people in the tourism industry,” said Fisher. “Programs such as this one not only ensure that the important educational component is delivered, but that those students in the program are able to experience the workplace first-hand.”

      Approximately $1 billion of the province’s $10 billion annual tourism revenue is generated by Whistler tourism. The province hosts more than 22.5 million overnight visitors each year, with Whistler accounting for more than one million of those room nights.

      Uniquely positioned at the gateway of the Sea-to-Sky Corridor and with its Squamish campus lying within the heart of the Corridor itself, Capilano was the first public institution to announce that it will be extending its reading break for the duration of the Games.

      “By extending our reading break during the 2010 Winter Games, our students will have the chance to gain the kind of real-life experience that could not be taught in a classroom,” Lee said. “We are prepared to help the 2010 Games, our communities, and most of all, our students, through this exceptional opportunity.”

      With one of the oldest and best established tourism departments in the country, Capilano has been training students to enter the tourism industry for more than 35 years. More recently, the University has been working to make Squamish a learning destination for people from around the world. Programs such as Destination Resort Management and Wilderness Leadership are drawing students from across the continent. As host of LinkBC, people have come to recognize that Capilano University is delivering the types of quality programs and services that they need to succeed in today’s workforce.

      Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing and sales organization representing Whistler, operating the TELUS Whistler Conference Centre, the Whistler Golf Club, the Whistler Visitor Centres and tourismwhistler.com, as well as 1-800-WHISTLER and whistler.com - Whistler's official source for visitor bookings and information. As the convention and visitors bureau for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler represents more than 7,000 members who own, manage and operate properties or businesses on resort lands including hotels, restaurants, activity operators and retail shops.