Unceded Algonquin Anishinabeg Territory (Ottawa, ON) – February 29, 2024 – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) along with presenting partner of the awards, WestJet, have announced the winners of the 2024 Indigenous Tourism Awards at the 11th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) on February 28, 2024.

A highlight of each IITC, the annual awards gala acknowledges the accomplishments of national Indigenous tourism operators and serves as a platform to elevate and promote Indigenous culture, heritage and economic development. These awards recognize excellence from Indigenous-owned tourism associations, businesses, entrepreneurs, and people from across Canada who have demonstrated exceptional work in leadership, partnership, development and marketing, and business ethics.

ITAC continues to be grateful for the support received from WestJet – the official carrier of the 2024 IITC and the sponsor of the 2024 Indigenous Tourism Awards. We thank their commitment to the excellence and growth of our Indigenous tourism Industry from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

“This year’s winners represent an impressive and diverse group of Indigenous operators that have showcased a dedication to authenticity, sustainability and Indigenous tourism,” said Keith Henry, CEO and President of ITAC. “Each winner and finalist should be incredibly proud and their work will undoubtedly inspire others to embark on their own journeys of discovery and connection across the country.”

The winners of the 2024 Indigenous Tourism Awards include:


Extraordinary Female Entrepreneur

Recognizes an empowered and strong Indigenous female entrepreneur within the tourism industry and across Canada, and demonstrates a commitment to uplifting other women in her industry, embodying leadership within her business and/or community.

Winner: Chef Tammy Maki, Raven Rising

As the owner of Raven Rising, Chef Tammy Maki has created an internationally renowned brand in a highly competitive industry. After working her way up the ranks from culinary student to chef, Chef Maki created her own business that blends the world of fine chocolates with the rich traditions of Indigenous cultures. Additionally, Raven Rising proudly funds a scholarship for an Indigenous student in the Baking and Pastry Arts program at George Brown College and donates a portion of their proceeds to various societies that support victims of the 60’s Scoop, MMIWg2s and residential schools.

Leading the Way in Sustainability

The Leading the Way in Sustainability Award recognizes a business that is not only committed to fostering a sustainable future for their business and community, but has made significant and measurable impacts on one or all of the following areas: social sustainability, cultural sustainability, and environmental sustainability.

Winner: Takaya Tours

Takaya Tours is an undeniable trailblazer in sustainable tourism, with their commitment to low carbon impact activities and cultural preservation setting a remarkable standard for the industry. With their guided interpretive paddles in 35 foot replica ocean-going canoes and sea kayaks, Takaya Tours actively engage guests in a profound connection with the pristine waters of the Burrard Inlet (Səl̓ilw̓ət). This unique, low-impact approach not only showcases a dedication to environmental sustainability but also allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of the Coast Salish people.

Exceptional Industry Leader and The Original Original Star

This award recognizes a business or organization leading Canadian Indigenous tourism. By demonstrating excellence in all aspects of its business, such as marketing campaigns, Trip Advisor reviews, revenues generated, low staff turnover and repeat customers. This includes businesses who applied for The Original Original Accreditation Program and received a high score across the board in being an Indigenous business, providing an outstanding and authentic Indigenous experience not to be missed on a travelers next Canadian itinerary.

Winner: Mi’kmaq Heritage Path Tours/ Elsipogtog Cultural Center

This cultural experience enables visitors to immerse themselves in traditional Mi’kmaq culture with the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick and learn from the teachings of their elders. The organization invites travellers to spend an afternoon exploring the woods along the Heritage Path which features historical, cultural and spiritual teachings. Keeping knowledge and culture alive starts with the employees and tour guides who are constantly working on learning and growing through teachings with Elders and ongoing research. That knowledge is then passed on to Indigenous and non-Indigenous visitors who can see first hand what life was like before colonial settlement and how to proceed in reconciliation.

Provincial / Territorial Association of the Year Award

The Provincial or Territorial Association of the Year Award recognizes a Provincial or Territorial Association that demonstrates excellence in all aspects of ITAC’s four Pillars, Leadership, Partnership, Development & Marketing, to build a resilient Indigenous tourism industry. Celebrating the spirit of partnership, this provincial or territorial leader will demonstrate their connection to Indigenous and non-Indigenous industry through commitment and collaboration with local, provincial/territorial, national and/or international partners.

Winner: Indigenous Tourism Québec

Indigenous Tourism Québec (ITQ) has become a major player in the tourism industry across Canada, playing a role in the growth of Indigenous tourism in the province of Quebec. The association has distinguished itself by its remarkable ability to evolve in line with the constant changes in the industry. Always on the lookout for emerging trends and strategic opportunities, ITQ has seen growth both in its membership (295% increase in 10 years) and in the number of projects the organization delivers annually. Whether through innovative partnerships, special events or promotional campaigns, the organization knows how to capitalize on key moments to boost its visibility.

Cultural Experience Award

The Exceptional Cultural Experience Award recognizes the outstanding delivery of cultural knowledge and guest experiences at Indigenous Cultural Centres, Museums, Galleries, Retail Stores, Food Establishments, Entertainments Centres and Spa/Retreats, Outdoor Adventure, Wildlife Viewing, and Outdoor Guided Tours.

Winner: First Nations Storytellers

First Nations Storytellers focus their efforts on cultural preservation, educational initiatives, and creating immersive experiences that bridge the gap between the past and present. Their commitment to inclusivity, innovation, and authentic storytelling significantly contributes to fostering a greater understanding of Indigenous culture. Visitors discover the local Wolastoqi and Mi’kmaq history from the unique Indigenous point of view.

Outstanding Staff Person Award

This Outstanding Staff Person Award recognizes a youth ambassador or Elder for their extraordinary dedication and exceptional performance while bringing passion for their culture and history and commitment to achieving excellence for the business.

Winner: Wyatt Brown, Dakota Dunes Resort

Wyatt has only recently stepped into his new role as a leader of the Dakota Dunes Resort team and his exceptional customer service is recognized by everyone he comes in contact with. His colleagues describe him as kind, dedicated and very funny. Wyatt has a passion for his culture and in addition to his work with Dakota Dunes Resort, he is a pow wow dancer that loves to share stories, pass on traditions and mentor local community children to grow up and celebrate their culture.

The Leading the Way in Business Development Award

The Business Development Award recognizes a community-based company thriving in tourism business development at an inspiring rate. This company demonstrates the implementation of proper protocol, from community consultation to community buy-in.

Winner: Tsawaak RV Resort

Tsawaak RV Resort’s journey began with extensive community consultation, ensuring that the vision for the resort aligns seamlessly with the aspirations and values of the Tla-O-Qui-Aht First Nation. The resort has exemplified the utmost respect for cultural protocols throughout its development. From the indigenization of the property to the introduction of cultural interpretation programs for visitors, every step has been taken with a profound understanding and acknowledgment of the Tla-O-Qui-Aht cultural heritage.

Tsawaak RV Resort’s success story is not just about its individual achievements but serves as an inspiration for other businesses in the industry. The resort has demonstrated that thriving in tourism business development is not only about financial gains but also about creating a harmonious balance between economic growth, cultural preservation, and community well-being.

Indigenous Culinary Tourism Award

Recognizes a business or individual in the Indigenous culinary industry. Bridging traditional recipes with regional-based ingredients and creating exciting new experiences for guests, these trail blazers are rocking the culinary world with their flair and fusion. Nominations are open to Chefs, restaurants, wineries, breweries, culinary events, and farms/markets.

Winner: Salmon ‘n Bannock

In the spirit of First Nations traditions, Salmon ‘n Bannock provides a gathering place where the focus is on the people and the food. Salmon n’ Bannock is situated on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. In a showcase of their continued growth and support, Salmon ‘n Bannock recently opened a new location inside the Vancouver International Airport, “Salmon ‘n Bannock On the Fly.”

New Operator or Business that Launched a New Experience Award

This award recognizes a new operator or business that launched a new Indigenous tourism experience in the 2023 operating year (January – December 2023) and established itself as an authentic and successful Indigenous business.

Winner: Ahous Adventures

Ahous Adventures invites visitors to explore Ahousaht territories through the lens of the people who have lived on and stewarded these lands and waters since time immemorial. Visitors will learn about Ahousaht’s Indigenous culture, language, history and storytelling. They believe that by openly sharing Ahousaht knowledge, locals and visitors can deeply connect with the true spirit of their remarkable ecosystem.

In 2023, Ahous Adventures successfully introduced the Tofino Hot Springs Eco-Tour, launched Tofino bear watching excursions and started whale watching tours for biodiversity exploration. Their commitment to cultural immersion, environmental sustainability, and economic empowerment sets them apart in this category.

For a full list of finalists for the 2024 Awards Gala please click here.


About the International Indigenous Tourism Conference

The largest Indigenous conference in the world, the annual IITC brings together delegates from the Canadian tourism industry, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, as well as representatives from global Indigenous tourism organizations for three days of inspiration and learning about Indigenous tourism issues and topics. For more information on the 2024 IITC, visit IndigenousTourismConference.com

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is a national non-profit Indigenous tourism industry organization established in 2015. ITAC is the lead organization tasked with growing and promoting 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 groups and regions with similar mandates to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism businesses in a respectful protocol.

For more information, interviews, b-roll or images, please contact:


Krystal Carter
tartanbond, on behalf of ITAC


Jeneviève Dulude-LeBlanc
tartanbond on behalf of ITAC