October 30, 2018, Treaty 6 Territory and Homeland of the Métis (Saskatoon, SK) – Over 145 Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs, community leaders and tourism partners from across Saskatchewan gathered Monday, October 29th for a full day of presentations and discussions to shape the future of the Indigenous tourism industry across Saskatchewan.

At Saskatchewan Day, preliminary research into the size and scope of Indigenous tourism industry in Saskatchewan estimates there are 78 Indigenous owned tourism operations and over 60 operations, spread out through the north, central and southern regions of the province. The research also looked in how market ready these businesses were:

  • 32 per cent identified as “doors open” – experiences available if you know who to call;
  • 40 per cent “visitor ready” – Website or Facebook page, defined hours and prices, reachable for visitors;
  • 27 per cent “market ready”- well-established, good website, reachable 24/7, all permits and insurance in place, some promotional materials and marketing
  • 1 per cent “expert ready” – focused on international markets, partnerships with tour operators, sophisticated pricing structures such as vouchers and commissions, higher-level marketing strategies and materials

When asked what sets Indigenous tourism apart in Saskatchewan from the rest of Canada, research participants cited the land and access to diverse, land-based activities, and the uniqueness of First Nations and Métis culture on the Prairies.

“We are thrilled to see the overwhelming interest in growing Indigenous tourism from community members and leaders in Saskatchewan,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of ITAC. “With international tourism arrivals expected to continue to grow across the country, we feel the opportunities for Indigenous owned and operated tourism businesses are substantial and we are honoured to support the industry to grow.”

Presentation topics ranged from partnership opportunities such as working with Tourism Saskatchewan, bridging community gaps, to authenticity of experience, to storytelling and how to build transformative experiences. Tourism Saskatchewan also announced a new award for an outstanding Indigenous tourism experience at their annual 2019 Saskatchewan Tourism Awards.

“Indigenous culture within Saskatchewan is so rich, there’s a lot to celebrate here,” says Henry, “Saskatchewan Day was a great opportunity for Indigenous tourism leaders from across the Province to get together and share their knowledge.”

Saskatchewan Day kicked off the 2018 International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC), held October 30 – 31st, at TCU Place and hosted by ITAC. The tourism industry conference will feature a Fireside Chat with Canada’s Minister of Tourism Official Languages and La Francophonie Mélanie Joly, as well as include new research announcements surrounding the growing Indigenous tourism industry in Canada.

Over 500 delegates taking part in panel discussions, breakout sessions, keynote presentations and local cultural experiences, and will bring together delegates from across the Canadian tourism industry, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities, as well as representatives from global Indigenous tourism organizations to discuss Indigenous tourism topics, barriers, opportunities and trends across Canada and the world.

This year, the theme is, “The Indigenous Tourism Economy: Learning Together and Sharing Our Stories.” The full schedule is available online at https://www.indigenoustourismconference.com/agenda/.

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) works to improve the socio-economic condition of Indigenous peoples through the provisions of economic development advisory services, tourism conferences, capacity development training and workshops, industry research and information for Indigenous 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 Indigenous tourism industry in Canada and works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. ITAC also just released their brand-new experience guide, detailing Indigenous experiences across Canada, in which visitors can learn about the values of the respect, honour and integrity that guides our communities while discovering the traditional territories, history, people and culture that has been a part of our country for centuries. To down load the full 2018/19 Guide to Indigenous Tourism in Canada go to: https://indigenoustourism.ca/indigenous-tourism-experience-guide/. The ITAC Board is made up of Indigenous tourism industry representatives from each of the provinces and territories. For more information, visit www.indigenoustourism.ca.


Media contacts:

Deirdre Campbell, Beattie Tartan: 250.882.9199. or deirdre.campbell@beattiegroup.com

Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada: 604-639-4408 or keith@indigenoustourism.ca

[su_button url=”https://indigenoustourism.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ITAC-SaskatchewanDay.pdf” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#A20000″ size=”5″ radius=”8″]Download this page as a PDF[/su_button]