April 29, 2019, Tsuut’ina Nation, Treaty 7 Territory (Calgary, AB) – Visitors from across the UK and France to Canada in 2019 now have six new inspiring Indigenous itineraries to choose from, thanks to a recently unveiled partnership between the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and WestJet.
Senior members of ITAC’s team, along with stakeholders representing the many experiences showcased throughout the Indigenous itineraries curated for WestJet, were onboard yesterday’s Calgary – London (Gatwick) inaugural flight to showcase Canada’s Indigenous tourism industry. WestJet is launching nonstop flights aboard its new 787 Dreamliners from Calgary to London (Gatwick), Paris and Dublin. The ITAC team will be spending this week in London meeting with travel trade and travel media, working alongside Destination Canada to promote Indigenous tourism across the country.
“Working with WestJet and partners like Destination Canada and Travel Alberta allows us to showcase a few of the hundreds of high quality and diverse Indigenous experiences waiting for Europeans. WestJet is opening up incredibly important markets for ITAC, and our research has shown that one in every three international visitors to Canada is seeking an Indigenous experience,” says Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC.
Experiences being showcased and shared with Londoners this week include:
- Family Fun with Bison & Dinosaurs – Including a visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller and a four hour Victoria Trail Voyageur Experience. During this visit, families will learn about Métis culture, step back into the 1860’s fur trade era at Fort Victoria and enjoy Indigenous inspired Cuisine.
- Canadian Rockies: Cultural & Outdoor Adventure – A stay at Calgary’s Grey Eagle Resort & Casino, a tour of the world-famous Glenbow Museum and Blackfoot Gallery to uncover the traditions, values and history of the people who have lived for thousands of years in the northwestern plains of Alberta. Activities also include exploring Banff and Kananaskis, a medicine walk with Mahikan trails and creating your own beaded medicine bag, and whitewater rafting.
- World-class Aurora Viewing – Located in Yellowknife, NWT’s Aurora Village, is owned by Indigenous tourism leaders Don and Gladys Morin. Set on the site of the oldest trading settlement in the territories, it is home to Dene and Métis people.
- Whistler to Shuswap Circle Tour – Where guests can experience the many Indigenous cultures immersed in the West Coast and Coastal Mountains of British Columbia. This tour includes a visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and a stay at the award-winning Quaaout Lodge and Spa.
- Edmonton to Jasper Getaway – Surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, staying at Indigenous owned and operated resorts, River Cree Resort and Casino and Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre where Cree First Nations roots are found throughout the resort. Guests will also be treated to an adventure tour in the Maligne Canyon Valley and the take in the incredible vistas of Maligne Lake with a tour of Spirit Island.
These packages will be featured at www.IndigenousCanada.Travel and inspire the full range of itineraries and experiences available.
“It’s promotional partnerships like these that will help showcase the richness and diversity of Canada’s Indigenous culture. Many visitors do not realize Canada has an Indigenous culture that is one of the oldest in the world and which is now being celebrated and supported by Destination Canada and partners like WestJet,” says Henry.
About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is the leading organization tasked with growing the Indigenous tourism industry across the country. Inspired by a vision for a thriving Indigenous tourism economy sharing authentic, memorable and enriching experiences, ITAC develops relationships with other groups and regions with similar mandates. By uniting the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada, ITAC works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. With Indigenous tourism outpacing Canadian tourism activity overall and international demand for Indigenous experiences at an all-time high, ITAC recently updated its five-year plan. To view packages and experiences available visit www.IndigenousCanada.Travel. For more information on ITAC visit www.IndigenousTourism.ca
Jenna Hickman, Beattie Tartan: 250-592-3838, 250-514-34809 (cell) or Jenna.Hickman@BeattieGroup.com
Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada: 604-639-4408 or Keith@IndigenousTourism.ca