Feb. 26, 2018, Treaty 7 Territory (Calgary, AB) – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has retained the services of Stormy Lake Consulting, a tourism consultancy based in Calgary, Alberta to develop the inaugural tourism strategy to support the newly formed Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA).

The completed tourism strategy for ITA will be aligned with both ITAC and the Government of Alberta’s tourism strategies. It will inform the direction of ITA as a new Indigenous tourism industry association for Alberta that is focused on the development of Indigenous tourism revenues, jobs, and tourism businesses.

“We are pleased to announce our plans to create a strategy for Indigenous Tourism Alberta, in a province that is home to so many Indigenous communities, and ready to develop authentic Indigenous experiences, and businesses,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. “Our national strategy aims to have increased the annual Canadian GDP by $300 million through Indigenous tourism and getting 50 new Indigenous tourism operators export-ready by 2021, and Alberta must be a key part of that success.”

The project will include the coordination of management activities, resources, and information for the ITA Tourism Strategy; liaison with ITA administration, and the ITA Working Group (comprised of Indigenous tourism industry leaders and stakeholders) to engage and inform strategic priorities; alignment of the ITA tourism strategy with the Government of Alberta’s tourism strategy; and the creation of comprehensive project documentation, plans, and reports.

“The story of Indigenous peoples are an integral part of the Alberta story, and Indigenous tourism businesses are telling our stories now”, says Brenda Holder, Indigenous Tourism Alberta Chair and owner of Canmore-based outdoor tourism business Mahikan Trails. “It is so important that we, as Indigenous tourism business owners, be the ones to develop and guide a strategy for our own industry.”

“There is a difference between what drives people to visit a destination and what types of experiences they will consume while they are here. Today, Indigenous experiences are seen as something to do while you are here and we need a strategy to elevate it to become a primary reason why you should come to Alberta.” says Philip Coppard, Stormy Lake Consulting. “We welcome the opportunity to learn from and work with the leadership of ITAC and Indigenous Tourism Alberta.”

Expected to be completed by May 31, 2018, the report will include overall goals, objectives, strategies and selected top-line tactical ideas for Alberta, which will align with ITAC’s national pillars of leadership, partnership, marketing, and development, tailored to the needs of Indigenous operators and business owners in the province.

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) works to improve the socio-economic condition of Aboriginal people through the provisions of economic development advisory services, tourism conferences, capacity development training and workshops, industry research and information for Aboriginal 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 Aboriginal tourism industry in Canada and works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Aboriginal cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. The ITAC Board is made up of Aboriginal tourism industry representatives from each of the provinces and territories. For more information, visit www.IndigenousTourism.ca.

About Indigenous Tourism Alberta
At Alberta Day at the 2017 International Aboriginal Tourism Conference on Tsuut’ina Nation in Calgary, Alberta, ITAC Identified nine Indigenous tourism industry champions from around the province who will work to establish Indigenous Tourism Alberta. They are: Brenda Holder, Mahikan Trails (ITA Chair); Ardell Twinn, Entrepreneur; Robert Grandjambe, Atim Ostogwan; John Ritchie, Lac La Biche Native Friendship Centre; Charmaine Larsen, Entrepreneur; Joe Urie, Jasper Tour Company; Dion Redgun, River Ranche Tourism; Hal Eagletail, Eaglestar Enterprises; and Tim Patterson, Outdoor Guide.

Once formed, Alberta will join BC, Quebec and Yukon who have already established regional Indigenous tourism associations. The role of the regional association is to deliver strategy and establish industry sustainability, led by the support and feedback from local Indigenous operators. Key partners who are supporting ITAC’s development work include Destination Canada, Travel Alberta, Government of Alberta (Ministry of Culture & Tourism) and Indigenous Northern Affairs Canada.

About Stormy Lake Consulting
Stormy Lake Consulting was established in 2002 and has tourism experience across multiple tourism-related sectors, including tourism, municipal branding, transportation, shopping centres & retail stores and arts & cultural organizations. Our team has extensive experience developing tourism strategies with regional, provincial and national tourism partners within Alberta and across Canada.

Phil Klassen, is a recognized tourism industry knowledge leader and trusted collaborator with a strong reputation of developing mutually rewarding partnerships with national, provincial, and regional destination marketing organizations and private sector tourism partners. Philip Coppard’s tourism experience spans more than three decades, leading tourism strategy efforts for organizations in Alberta and British Columbia. Phil and Philip have worked together for the past seven years.

Media contacts:
Brian Cant, Beattie Tartan: 250-592-3838, 250-888- 8729 (cell) or brian.cant@onlybeattie.com
Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada: 604-639-4408 or keith@indigenoustourism.ca

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