ITAC and Parks Canada Sign Four-Year Agreement to Grow Indigenous Tourism Industry


Agreement will assist in the promotion of authentic Indigenous experiences for visitors

February 1, 2018, Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC) – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has entered into a four-year contribution agreement with Parks Canada with the goal of enhancing and growing authentic Indigenous experiences in regions across the country. The contribution agreement builds on a Memorandum of Understanding signed with Parks Canada in 2016.

The four-year agreement, in place from 2017 to 2021, provides a new framework for growth of Indigenous tourism at Parks Canada spaces through the development, support, and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences created in collaboration between Parks Canada and Indigenous communities, businesses and entrepreneurs.

“This partnership with Parks Canada is aimed to support the growth of authentic Indigenous experiences delivered by Indigenous communities, and businesses and entrepreneurs, working in collaboration with Parks Canada, to grow and thrive in Parks Canada spaces,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. “It is our role to ensure that any agreement between ITAC and Parks Canada is rooted in a deep respect for Indigenous people, and that Indigenous culture and identity is authentically represented in subsequent marketing efforts.”

While the contribution agreement between the two organizations is over-arching, it strengthens the foundation for prioritizing and building on existing collaborations and developing new agreements between each affected Parks Canada location and Indigenous communities.

“Indigenous tourism is a fast growing sector of the Canadian tourism landscape. The agreement with ITAC aims to support the growth of Indigenous tourism in Canada, through the development of market-ready authentic Indigenous tourism experiences across the country,” says Daniel Watson, Chief Executive Officer, at Parks Canada.  “It is a priority for Parks Canada to continue to work with Indigenous communities to develop activities and experiences at national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas and to create new opportunities for Canadians to better understand the cultures and histories of Indigenous peoples in Canada.”

As part of the agreement, the two organizations will promote market-ready experiences through the creation of travel itineraries over the four-year period, which will then be jointly marketed by ITAC and Parks Canada. This will support authentic Indigenous travel experiences to grow and develop throughout at least fifteen Parks Canada spaces across the country. ITAC and Parks Canada will mutually determine which experiences will be developed and featured in these itineraries.

The agreement is built largely on the critical role authentic experiences have in Parks Canada spaces, and that Indigenous peoples, communities, businesses and entrepreneurs working in partnership with Parks Canada have the knowledge to contribute to immersive, valuable and authentic tourism experiences for visitors. The definition for these authentic experiences is derived from ITAC’s national guidelines, which serve as a thread of understanding throughout the agreement.

The opportunities for growing these experiences are very exciting from many perspectives. For amazing tourism experiences, for the Indigenous communities ITAC and Parks Canada work with, and supporting Indigenous tourism in Canada as a whole.

For more information, visit www.IndigenousTourism.ca or www.parkscanada.ca.

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) works to improve the socio-economic condition of Aboriginal people through the provisions of economic development advisory services, tourism conferences, capacity development training and workshops, industry research and information for Aboriginal tourism operators and communities within the 13 regions; 10 provinces and three territories of Canada. ITAC develops relationships with other groups and regions with similar mandates, uniting the Aboriginal tourism industry in Canada and works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Aboriginal cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. The ITAC Board is made up of Aboriginal tourism industry representatives from each of the provinces and territories. For more information, visit www.IndigenousTourism.ca.

About Parks Canada

Working together with more than 300 Indigenous communities across Canada, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving, restoring, and presenting Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. Parks Canada is committed to a network of national heritage places that celebrates the contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationship Indigenous peoples have with the lands and waters. Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples work together to develop interpretive materials and activities at all national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas. In doing so, we create new opportunities for Canadians to better understand the cultures and histories of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

ITAC Media Contacts

Brian Cant, Beattie Tartan: 250-592-3838 or brian.cant@onlybeattie.com

Keith Henry, ITAC: 604-639-4408 or Keith@IndigenousTourism.ca

Parks Canada Media Contacts

Media Relations, Parks Canada Agency  855-862-1812  pc.media@pc.gc.ca

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