Nominations Now Open until October 21, 2019

September 20, 2019 – Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Vancouver, BC Nominations are now open for Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada’s (ITAC) annual Indigenous Tourism Awards to be presented during the 8th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) November 14, 2019, hosted on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Nation (Kelowna, BC).

A highlight event for the conference, the awards gala will recognize both Indigenous tourism operators and experience providers from across Canada and exceptional Indigenous experiences within the host province. Nominations may be made via the IITC conference website, and will close at 5:00 p.m. PST on October 21, 2019. Nominees must be majority Indigenous-owned/controlled and provide tourism experiences or tourism-related services.

As we have seen demand grow internationally for Indigenous tourism experiences across Canada, we have also seen our stakeholders step up and provide outstanding hospitality. As we gather together as an industry it is important we celebrate these achievements as Indigenous business leaders and mentors,” says Keith Henry, CEO and president of ITAC. “Award winners are looked up to for providing examples of best practices and encourage ongoing Indigenous tourism development, which we badly need to keep up with demand.”

Recent research undertaken by Destination Canada and ITAC showed that one in every three International visitors is requesting an Indigenous experiencing when travelling to Canada.

“Hosting the IITC in BC for 2019 gives us the opportunity to showcase the quality and diversity of Indigenous tourism experiences we have in the region. And by participating in the awards we have the opportunity to honour those who truly go above and beyond,” says Brenda Baptiste, Chair of Indigenous Tourism BC.

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For the Indigenous Tourism Awards 2019, the award categories include:

National Awards- open to Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada, including BC.

Most Improved Business

Indigenous tourism business who has significantly improved its market/export readiness allowing for a stronger business opportunity and increased their ability to professionally demonstrate Indigenous tourism’s ability to meet and exceed consumer and travel trade expectations.

Best Marketing Campaign

Indigenous tourism business or organization that has planned and activated an effective marketing campaign or program showing real results towards specific goals using any or all of paid, earned, shared or owned media.

Most Inspiring Cultural Ambassador

A representative of an Indigenous business or organization who inspires those around them in the way they represent their culture with visitors, who leads by example and who provides guidance and mentorship to those also looking to find their path towards representing their culture to visitors and guests.

Indigenous Adventure Award

This award is presented to a business who recognizes best practices in Indigenous Adventure travel with a focus on responsibility and sustainability: demonstrating effective sustainable management, maximizing social and economic benefits to the local community and minimizing negative impacts, maximizing benefits to cultural heritage and minimizing negative impacts and maximizing benefits to the environment and minimizing negative impact.

Inspiring Indigenous Culinary Award

This award recognizes a business or Indigenous operator who is significantly raising the profile of Indigenous cuisine and food experiences.

Indigenous Tourism BC Awards- open to Indigenous tourism businesses operating in BC.

Remarkable Indoor Cultural Experiences

Exceptional delivery of cultural knowledge and guest experience at Indigenous Cultural Centres, Museums, Galleries, Retail Stores, Food Establishments, Entertainments Centres and Spa/Retreats.

Exceptional Outdoor Cultural Experiences

Outdoor Adventure, Wildlife Viewing, Outdoor Guided Tours.  Exceptional knowledge and delivery of an Indigenous cultural experience and/or adventure in an outdoor environment.

Outstanding Indigenous Accommodations

Hotels, Motels, Accommodations, Cabins, Campgrounds, Lodges.  Excellent lodging experience for guests while incorporating Indigenous themes, design elements and/or cultural experiences.

Customer Service Award

This award recognizes frontline team members whose exceptional customer service contributed to an outstanding travel experience for visitors who are experiencing Indigenous tourism in BC.

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About the International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC)

The eighth annual IITC brings together delegates from 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 Conference theme is, “Inspire. Transform. Unite. Accelerating Indigenous tourism growth.” Indigenous tourism has the power to change perspectives, preserve culture, language, and community and provide Indigenous relatives with a platform to be the leading voice in reclaiming Indigenous space in history — both ancient and modern.  The year the conference event includes local Indigenous cultural tours, the Indigenous Tourism Awards gala dinner and the annual general meetings of both Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA). Registration is available online and more information may be found at

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. To download the full 2018/19 Guide to Indigenous Tourism in Canada, click here. The ITAC Board is made up of Indigenous tourism industry representatives from each of the provinces and territories. For more information, visit


Media contacts:
Jenna Hickman, Beattie Tartan

Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

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