Hospitality Expert Shares Lessons in Business and Tourism Development

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Local communities and businesses have numerous opportunities to participate in hospitality needs arising from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. That's the message Mark Lewis, president of Jet Set Sports, delivered as part of the RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series in February, 2008. Lewis took his message to Whistler, Surrey and Vancouver as part of the series.

With 13 Olympic and Paralympic Games under its belt, Jet Set Sports provides clients with an all-in-one package comprising accommodations, event tickets, catering, ground transportation, event management and other services during their Olympic travels.

It's expected Jet Set Sports will bring more than 175,000 visitors to the region over the Olympic and Paralympic period. That means, at any given time, the company will be hosting 20,000 to 25,000 visitors to the Whistler and Vancouver area. Each of those people will be looking for unique Canadian and BC experiences. In addition, Jet Set Sports will be providing employment for 1,800 people during the Games. Employees will host groups and provide resources to offer visitors moments they don't experience in everyday life.

"Many of our guests will be enjoying local wines and gifts. We like to show people the local cuisine, things that are unique to Vancouver – unique to the region…our goal is to expose people to the local culture," said Lewis.

Lewis stressed there's ample opportunity during the pre-Games window for businesses to capitalize on hospitality needs: "I've never seen a province or region help companies take advantage of that opportunity like this one. The things that Legacies Now, RBC and the provincial government are doing to make businesses aware…there are countless opportunities."

Lewis added: "Local businesses need to create a sense of these opportunities and build on those plans quickly."

The RBC 2010 Legacies Now Speaker Series hosted ten internationally-acclaimed speakers who shared their Olympic and Paralympic expertise with businesses and communities throughout BC. From 2006-2008, these speakers visited several communities to share their knowledge and experience. They also participated in an interview which was webcast live and archived online at The program was sponsored by RBC, CTV, the Province of British Columbia and the Vancouver Sun.