The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has renewed a three-year contribution agreement with Parks Canada with the goal of enhancing and growing authentic Indigenous experiences in regions across the country.
The contribution agreement continues to build on a Memorandum of Understanding signed with Parks Canada in 2016 and renewed in 2022.
The three-year agreement provides a framework for the growth of Indigenous tourism at Parks Canada administered places through the development, support, and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences created in collaboration between Parks Canada and Indigenous communities, businesses and entrepreneurs. This agreement is part of a commitment to invest $500,000 over the next three years.
Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, said that: “The renewal of this partnership with Parks Canada enables important work to continue building a strong future for Indigenous tourism. Moreover, ITAC’s role is to ensure that any agreement between the association and Parks Canada is rooted in reconciliation for Indigenous people and that Indigenous culture and identity is authentically represented in ongoing marketing efforts.”
While the renewed contribution agreement between the two organizations is over-arching, it strengthens the foundation for prioritizing and building on existing collaborations.
“As we move past the acute phase of the pandemic, Canada’s tourism sector is showing strong signs of growth. We are honoured to be a partner with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help advance Indigenous tourism and to share authentic Indigenous experiences with millions of visitors from across Canada and around the world,” said the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
Minister Boissonnault continued: “As we look to revival and growth of the sector, we continue to provide targeted support to tourism businesses and partners – including Indigenous tourism operators – and work together with Parks Canada, so we can keep delivering unforgettable experiences. A fully recovered and robust Indigenous tourism sector is key to reconciliation, and to our government’s ongoing work in building an economy that works for everyone.”
As part of the renewed agreement, the two organizations will promote market-ready experiences through the creation of travel itineraries over the three-year period, which will then be jointly marketed by ITAC and Parks Canada.
This will support authentic Indigenous experiences to grow and develop throughout Parks Canada administered locations across the country, including staff training opportunities for staff and Indigenous arts and crafts available at Parks Canada stores, its national historical sites and more. ITAC and Parks Canada will mutually determine which experiences will be developed and featured in these itineraries.
The agreement is built in partnership with Parks Canada which has the knowledge to contribute to immersive, valuable and authentic Indigenous tourism experiences for visitors. The definition for these authentic experiences is derived from ITAC’s national accreditation program, The Original Original, which serves as a thread of understanding throughout the agreement.
The ongoing growth of these experiences is very inspiring from many perspectives. For amazing tourism destinations, for the Indigenous communities ITAC and Parks Canada work with, and supporting Indigenous tourism across Canada as a whole.