Caption: World tourism leaders announce the world’s first global Indigenous tourism marketing collective at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Ottawa. Credit: Simon Ratcliffe

Algonquin Anishinabeg Territory (Ottawa, ON) – As part of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC), leaders from New Zealand Māori Tourism (NZMT), American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) announced today the brand and visual identity of a new organization in the works called Destination Original International Tourism (DO-IT).

Destination Original International Tourism (DO-IT) will be dedicated to the development and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism destinations globally once it has been created. The goal is to have the world’s Indigenous tourism industry working together to ensure a larger presence and a unified voice in promoting the industry.

This entails generating opportunities for joint initiatives and fostering innovative marketing partnerships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous entities, as well as working closely with governments and industry leaders globally. The organization aims to gain recognition and a seat-at-the-table with UN Tourism to ensure an Indigenous voice is included in their tourism marketing efforts.

“It’s so important to have an Indigenous-led organization like DO-IT lead the growth of Indigenous tourism. For too long we’ve seen global entities try to market Indigenous tourism on our behalf, yet many travelers still don’t know about our industry, its importance to preserving our cultures and in reconciliation efforts,” said Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC. “By joining forces globally, we can elevate Indigenous tourism to new heights, ensuring its long-term sustainability and impact on Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. It is no longer about us without us.”

The vision for the organization is to establish an international tourism network of Indigenous tourism associations in each of our countries. DO-IT aims to lead initiatives like international research, perception studies, uncover trends that will support Indigenous tourism businesses, as well as ensure a much stronger presence and unified message with major global organizations and key industry conferences.
“This signifies a monumental step towards amplifying Indigenous voices in the global tourism arena,” said Sherry L. Rupert, CEO of AIANTA. “Together, DO-IT will pave the way for the development and marketing of sustainable and authentic Indigenous tourism experiences. Not only it is our time to shine but this will offer consumers the perfect platform to learn of original experiences anywhere they travel in the world!”

The announcement of the initiative set to revolutionize the global Indigenous tourism landscape, was shared during a panel at IITC, organized by ITAC, held February 26-28. Panelists Sherry Rupert, CEO of AIANTA, Pania Tyson-Nathan, Chief Executive of NZMT, and Keith Henry, President and CEO of ITAC, convened for a groundbreaking conversation on international brand alignment in Indigenous tourism. This pivotal discussion shared best practices, insights, and the importance of collaboration in propelling Indigenous-led tourism initiatives worldwide.

“Firmly fixed in our shared vision, we will safeguard the well-being of our Indigenous communities, cherish and preserve our cultural heritages, and honour and protect our wildlife and environment. As courageous and ambitious leaders in international Indigenous tourism, our dedication extends to the care and hospitality of our visitors, ensuring their experience is respectful. Through our endeavours, we will enrich cultural wealth in harmony with Earth Mother. We look forward in the implementation and full launch of this organization with our partners and start onboarding new Indigenous Destinations very soon – our possibilities are endless!” said Pania Tyson-Nathan, Chief Executive of NZMT.

-30-

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.

About AIANTA:
For more than 25 years, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has served as the only national organization dedicated to advancing cultural heritage tourism in Native Nations and communities across the United States. Established by tribes for tribes to address inequities in the tourism system, AIANTA is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit governed by an all-Native board of directors and serves as a united voice for the $15.7 billion Native hospitality sector. AIANTA’s successful legislative work led to the industry-changing Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE Act) funding in 2018, as Indian Country Tourism was recognized through federal appropriations via NATIVE Act implementation. AIANTA’s mission is to define, introduce, grow, and sustain American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian (AIANNH) tourism that honors traditions and values while helping AIANNH businesses become market/export ready for domestic and international markets. Native Nations and communities who are looking to start or expand their cultural tourism footprint can find resources at www.aianta.org and visitors interested in learning more about Native culture can visit www.nativeamerica.travel.

About New Zealand Māori Tourism
New Zealand Māori Tourism (NZMT) was established in 2004 as an incorporated society to provide an overarching direction and focus for Māori tourism. NZMT has its own Board and is distinct from the New Zealand Government. NZMT has the stated purpose of growing Aotearoa New Zealand’s cultural, economic, and social wealth through Māori tourism, ensuring Māori culture is central to the Aotearoa New Zealand visitor experience. NZMT advocates for and supports the Māori tourism sector, and fosters relationships with Māori tourism operators, and encourages quality growth in the sector. NZMT works closely with the wider tourism, trade and investment sectors, and the appropriate private and public sector entities, in New Zealand, and internationally, including supporting the growth of indigenous tourism globally.

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

AIANTA Media Contact:
Liz Slobodian
Liz@shipwrightcommunications.com