Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Jun 18, 2018
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First Nations operators set attendance record at RVC 2018

Ocean house

(photo above courtesy BEN GIESBRECHT)


The largest-ever representation of Canadian Indigenous tourism operations to attend the Rendez-vous Canada international travel trade market attended this year’s edition of the event. RVC 2018 in Halifax welcomed 41 Indigenous tourism businesses, each of which held appointments with tourism product buyers from around the world to promote new travel packages, outdoor adventures, cultural activities and accommodation options from coast to coast.

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) debuted its new website, which invites travellers to book First Nations tourism experiences across the country. The 19 travel packages on the site are divided into Getaway (one to three days) or Longer Stay (four to seven days). The site includes information on the best times of the year to visit, activity levels, itineraries and starting prices.

  • For example, the Mahikan Trails and Stoney Nakoda Resort package is set in the indigenous territories of three First Nations in Alberta, including the Tsuut’ina Nation, the Stoney Nakoda First Nation and the Cree/Iroquois Métis. They each contribute attractions and accommodations to the five-day program. The program includes overnights at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino and the Stoney Nakoda Resort & Casino, plus admittance to the Glenbow Museum, a guided First Nations cultural experiences on the Mahikan Trails, and more.
  • A stay at a Traditional Village on the Edge of Montreal is in store for those who book this four-day program. It is operated by members of the Innu, Atikamekw, Cree and Anishnabe communities, as Amishk Aventures Amérindiennes. The package includes a two-night stay in traditional indigenous village accommodations, First Nations activities/excursions and one night of deluxe accommodations in Montreal.
  • A large, floating luxury lodge named Ocean House, remodelled and outfitted in Vancouver, recently made the five-day towing journey north to the islands of Haida Gwaii, where it is now docked and welcoming guests. Ocean House is a former luxury fishing base camp that was redesigned and upgraded by the Haida First Nation. It is moored in a quietly scenic cove at Stads K’uns GawGa inlet, off the shores of Haida Gwaii.

The makeover included a large spa, an expansive lounge with a fireplace, a wood carvers shop, enlarged suites, a dining room, a bar, and more. Tours are included that give guests access to untouched beaches, ancient village sites and pristine forests in Haida Gwaii. The first clients arrived on May 26.


IITC set for Saskatoon this fall

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada will host the 7th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) this year. The 2018 IITC is taking place on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 on Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatoon, SK. Last year, the IITC was hosted by the Tsuut’ina Nation at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, on Treaty 7 Territory in Calgary, Alberta.

The International Indigenous Tourism Conference is an annual event that assembles those who actively promote the growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada and around the world. Indigenous tourism operators, businesses, partners and global tourism experts will gather for two days of learning best practices, sharing industry research/marketing strategies, networking, breakout sessions, keynote presentations, and local cultural experiences.

This year, the IITC theme is “The Indigenous Tourism Economy: Learning Together and Sharing Our Stories.” It will support the idea that Indigenous tourism has the power to change perspectives, preserve culture, languages and communities.

Speakers are encouraged to submit their ideas by July 15 online through the 2018 IITC Call for Speakers submission form.

Summit explores the power of Indigenous tourism

New directions for First Nations tourism in Manitoba were a priority platform at the recent Power of Indigenous Tourism Summit, held in Winnipeg at the end of May. More than 100 delegates attended the Summit, which was a joint venture between the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Travel Manitoba.

The one-day event focused on development, marketing and authenticity for Indigenous tourism products in Manitoba. This was accomplished through workshops and presentations by Indigenous tourism experts from across Canada.

For instance, a recent research project by ITAC and Travel Manitoba identified more than 50 Indigenous tourism businesses in Manitoba. It outlined opportunities for potential branding ventures and made recommendations for the next steps to be taken.

“Our communities have an opportunity to be a key part of the growing Manitoba tourism economy,” said David Daley, chair of the Manitoba Indigenous Tourism Advisory Committee and owner of Wapusk Adventures in Churchill.

Delegates identified a set of tourism experiences as having the most potential for growth for Manitoba. These included festivals, wildlife viewing, culinary teachings and immersive cultural experiences, as having the best chance for business success in the province. But they also described Indigenous tourism in Manitoba as authentic, strong, respectful, welcoming, and passionate.

“We are incredibly proud to see the high level of engagement within the Manitoba tourism industry, especially with the strong representation of our Indigenous tourism partners,” said Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC. “We have outlined a number of positive next steps and look forward to working with our partners, as we implement them in the months to come.”