“I believe tourism plays a vital role in truth and reconciliation,” observes Indigenous Tourism Alberta’s director of development, Mackenzie Brown, before continuing: “Tourism experiences are an approachable and interactive way for people to learn about our cultures and history. It gives visitors a chance to spend time with community members who are open to answering questions and sharing their cultures authentically. Truth and reconciliation begins with truth and understanding, and that’s exactly what Indigenous tourism experiences foster.”
Brown explains: “Indigenous Tourism Alberta is an Indigenous led not-for-profit membership organization. We were created to help Indigenous tourism businesses through programs that are rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. We help our members grow their businesses through our various programs. We have programs such as Entrepreneur workshops, micro-funding, community programs, and various marketing initiatives.”
And she adds: “We exist to help sustainably grow the Indigenous tourism industry in Alberta and to see Indigenous communities in Alberta thrive through economic reconciliation.”
As for travel agents, Brown says: “My advice for travel agents or those interested in providing information on Indigenous experiences in Alberta is to have an open heart and an open mind in terms of what you may think an authentic Indigenous tourism experience is.”
For the full story, check out the latest issue of CANADIAN TRAVEL PRESS.
Photos courtesy of Indigenous Tourism Alberta