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M.I.C.E. Venues

 September 15, 2011
Vancouver As Seen By Ken Cretney, General Manager, The Vancouver Convention Centre

 For more than three decades, Ken Cretney has been quietly changing the face of Canada's hotel and tourism industry. After managing the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff, Alberta, he moved on to the Delta Whistler Resort and oversaw its successful conversion to the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa. Under his leadership of the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel in Vancouver, the hotel was named by BC Business magazine as one of the top companies to work for in the province. He served as past chair of the Vancouver Hotel General Managers' Association, and is currently involved with the industry education advisory committee at Selkirk College and Vancouver Community College. In 2008, Ken was appointed general manager of the Vancouver Convention Centre, and has since helmed a myriad of achievements. During his time there, the convention centre opened its award-winning West Building, which received the highest level of LEED certification; served as the Main Media Centre of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games; and successfully launched its new brand. Below, Ken discusses Vancouver's most successful convention year to date, the city's allure to meeting planners worldwide and his favourite Vancouver hotspot.

This year is Vancouver's biggest convention year ever. What role has the Vancouver Convention Centre played in this milestone? The addition of our West Building tripled our capacity so we're now able to handle much larger gatherings and host simultaneous events. That in itself has attracted a whole new clientele. Our reputation for excellent customer service has also served us well in marketing Vancouver as an ideal convention destination.

Why is Vancouver one of the world's top cities in which to hold a meeting or event? Vancouver has world-class infrastructure that includes the Vancouver Convention Centre, incredible hotels and restaurants, convenient access to and from our award-winning airport and a vibrant and walkable downtown -- all of which are a draw for meeting and event planners worldwide. Also, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games demonstrated our ability to successfully host large and complex international events, and that gives conference organizers a lot of confidence in our city.

What event, place or activity most says "Vancouver" to you? I'm a little biased, but the convention centre is near the top of the list. Our facility is located on the waterfront against a dramatic mountain backdrop, with breathtaking scenery and an exciting city at its front doors. It's inspiring to see the number of people making use of the surrounding walking and cycling lanes, or just sitting outside and soaking in the gorgeous views our city is known for.