February 27, 2020, Mi’kmaw Territory (Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador) – Two years after the first province-wide Indigenous tourism gathering in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the establishment of the Newfoundland and Labrador Indigenous Tourism Association (NLITA) was announced today at the annual Hospitality NL Conference & Trade Show.
NLITA will be governed by an Indigenous-led group of dedicated people passionate about the Indigenous tourism potential in Newfoundland and Labrador and will exist to preserve and promote Indigenous culture, knowledge and places through leadership and support for community-led grassroots tourism.
“We are excited to come together to continue to grow Indigenous tourism across the province, says Jillian Larkham, Director of Tourism for the Nunatsiavut Government. “Representation from every Indigenous group in this province will always have room at this table.”
Today also marked the launch of the organization’s five-year provincial Indigenous tourism strategy. This plan has been based on the voices heard through a rigorous engagement process with industry, partners and most importantly, Indigenous communities, 91% of whom agreed that an Indigenous tourism association would be an asset for their communities and businesses to help them prosper and reconcile with the past.
“This is the first step in laying a solid foundation for the Indigenous peoples of this province to positively impact their communities through the fastest growing tourism sector in Canada,” says Tara Saunders, provincial representative with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada who has been working with the provincial working group for the last several years. “Indigenous tourism is about so much more than economic benefit. It is about giving the community a platform through which they can share their own stories and values. It provides a channel to shed light on the last seven generations and to share the beauty of the next seven generations to come.”
Aligning with current industry strategies and plans, such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Destination Development Plan and the National Indigenous Tourism Strategy, NLITA has identified the following 9 strategic directions:
- Grassroots Tourism Support
- Cultural Preservation
- Indigenous Inclusion
- Governance & Leadership
- Marketing & Branding
- Product Development
- Education & Awareness
- Capacity Building & Training
About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is the lead 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. Additionally, ITAC just launched their Nations magazine, highlighting Indigenous people and experiences across the country.
For more information on ITAC visit www.IndigenousTourism.ca.
Deirdre Campbell, Beattie Tartan
Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada