Takou (Makatau), (Kaohsiung, Taiwan) The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada has some updates from the World Indigenous Tourism Summit (WITS), organized by the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance and held April 16-20, 2024, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The summit brought together 650 delegates from 26 countries, providing a platform for advancing Indigenous tourism worldwide.

Attendees explored how Indigenous cultures and natural ecosystems provide local perspectives, sharing the economic benefits and promoting the sustainable development of Indigenous tourism experiences.

Representing ITAC, Vice President Sébastien Desnoyers-Picard and Director of Business Development Tara Saunders attended the summit. At WITS, Sébastien presented ITAC programs and co-moderated the Youth Symposium alongside the Minister of the Commission of Indigenous Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government Abus Bainkinung, showcasing ITAC’s commitment to youth engagement. Sébastien and Tara also actively engaged in various meetings, furthering the association’s mission to provide leadership in developing and marketing authentic Indigenous tourism experiences through innovative partnerships.

One highlight was Sébastien’s and Tara’s participation in a VIP dinner hosted by the Canadian Trade Council of Taiwan, led by Executive Director Jim Nickel. This gathering facilitated meaningful discussions with Taiwanese tour operators and Canadian partners, fostering potential collaborations and enhancing mutual understanding of available Taiwanese programs and opportunities. Sébastien and Tara also shared insights on The Original Original Accreditation Program and other ITAC projects.

Moreover, they met with the Taiwan Indigenous Peoples Business Association over breakfast, exploring potential synergies and avenues for collaboration. A dinner with diplomats from Guatemala also started conversions on possible projects and partnerships, demonstrating ITAC’s commitment to fostering global connections and initiatives.

WITS resulted in new relations for potential international projects, emphasizing the importance of such gatherings. Furthermore, ITAC was able to strengthen its partnership with NZ Māori Tourism which had a delegation of 17 individuals from New Zealand.

The association thanks its Canadian partners, including Darcie Guarderas, Director of Tansi Tourism Solutions, Frank Antoine of Moccasin Trails and Incoming Chair of WITS, and Mike LeBourdais, Chairperson of the Tulo Centre of Indigenous Economics, whose support and collaboration have been instrumental in this trips endeavours.

The World Indigenous Tourism Summit 2024, reaffirmed ITAC’s commitment to promoting and celebrating Indigenous cultures, traditions, and economies through sustainable tourism initiatives.