The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, in partnership with Tourism HR Canada, is looking to develop Canada’s nation-wide Indigenous tourism recognition program, entitled RISE. This project will aim to support Indigenous tourism businesses of all kinds, from authentic cultural experiences to essential tourism services in Indigenous destinations to community-based initiatives in the planning stage. The outcome will be increased readiness for all businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations who participate, enhancing their ability to attract visitors and deliver memorable, high-quality experiences. RISE will do this by providing precise, measurable, actionable, and easy-to-implement criteria to ensure that Indigenous tourism operators are wholly prepared for today’s travellers.

RISE aims to strengthen our Indigenous tourism industry at the community, regional, national and international levels and will be useful for operators at all stages of business readiness, especially those at the grassroots level. This user-friendly recognition program will strive to ensure that operators are ready to meet the increasing demand for Indigenous tourism experiences in Canada.

The concept for RISE, a Canada-wide Indigenous tourism standards recognition program, is still being developed and to ensure the model addresses the needs of our industry, a national engagement of Indigenous tourism stakeholders is being conducted. The RISE project team is looking to hear from Indigenous tourism businesses or aspiring entrepreneurs, leaders of regional Indigenous tourism initiatives, Indigenous community leadership and its members, economic development officers, tourism partners and any individual who holds expertise and would like to contribute their insights for the development of RISE.

By engaging with stakeholders and experts, the RISE project team hopes to uncover the greatest opportunities and some of the challenges for implementing a standards recognition program specifically designed for Indigenous tourism businesses. The project also hopes to identify ways to encourage participation in the recognition program amongst Indigenous operators and partners. Lastly, the project will strive to discover various elements for inclusion in the recognition program to support operators in achieving quality experiences and enhancing their marketing efforts.