Indigenous tourism experiences and ITAC’s Sébastien Desnoyers-Picard celebrated during 2019 Explore Canada Awards of Excellence


August 13, 2019, Algonquin Territory (Ottawa, Ont) – Each year the annual Explore Canada Awards of Excellence recognize contributions to storytelling that inspire travelers to explore Canada, and once again stories featuring Indigenous tourism experiences were highlighted for compelling content and fascinating characters.

Canadian freelancer, Margo Pfeiff won for her article which ran in The Globe and Mail, “Hidden Canada: Inuvik, Northwest Territories”:
“Why do we travel?” asks judge Anne Donohoe, Chief Marketing Officer, MEC. “To learn, to expand our perspectives, to have an adventure, or as Margo Pfeiff puts it, to have transformational experiences.” Margo introduces us to Kylik Kisoun Taylor in Inuvik who is on a mission to provide transformational experiences in the Arctic and smash stereotypes. “You can feel Taylor’s passion for what he does, and Pfeiff’s excitement and awe as she is introduced to new experiences,” continues Donohoe. “And I am now myself considering a trip to the Arctic – a sign of a good travel read.”

Sébastien Desurmont’s epic article in GEO Magazine, “Colombie-Britannique: Le jour où j’ai dansé autour du feu sacré” (British Columbia: The Day I Danced Around the Sacred Fire) was also a winner, reaching the invaluable French market:
“As I read Desurmont’s piece, I became gripped by the moving story of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, which I had never heard,” says judge Nicolas Barbery, Editor in chief for Le Quotidien du Tourisme. “The reporting was remarkable and so were the writing and photos.”

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s Director of Marketing, Sébastien Desnoyers-Picard was also recognized with the first annual Industry Excellence Award, which honours Canadian media relations professionals who assisted a media outlet or journalist in producing exceptional Canadian travel content.  “Sébastien planned an amazing adventure and was on hand to provide advice, extra information and to facilitate stories on the trip. He even taught me how to snowmobile!” said nominator Fiona Tapp who also won for her story which was facilitated by Desnoyers-Picard’s support: Lonely Planet, “Go North; Reindeer Herding in the Northwest Territories”

“I spent a few years of my childhood in Northern Canada and know it is a region that is mostly overlooked and perhaps misunderstood so I was thrilled to read Fiona Tapp’s piece on reindeer herding in the Northwest Territories,” says judge and American broadcaster, Michaela Pereira. “The way that Tapp captured the magic, mystery and ruggedness of the north moved me. Compelling travel writing, to me, is about exploring the unexplored or little known in a way that is not just inquisitive and inviting, but also respectful to the subject. Fiona Tapp achieved that.”

“Congratulations to Sébastien for this incredible recognition.  Not only do the Explore Canada Awards of Excellence provide Indigenous tourism with invaluable profile across our global target audiences, but I am also so proud to have one of our own senior team members recognized for their hard work,” says Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC.

Award-winning journalists and industry members were celebrated this week,  during  GoMedia Canada, Destination Canada’s premier travel media event.

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 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.  To view packages and experiences available visit IndigenousCanada.travel. For more information on ITAC visit IndigenousTourism.ca

Media contact:
Jenna Hickman, Beattie Tartan, (250) 800-1198 (o), (250) 514-3480 (c), or Jenna.Hickman@BeattieGroup.com

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