October 1, 2019, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Vancouver, BC – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) joined Destination Canada at the 2019 Travel Classics West closing event in Whistler, B.C. last weekend to showcase a small sample of Canada’s diverse collection of authentic and enriching Indigenous arts, cultural and culinary experiences.

The dynamic, collaborative event, featuring some of the country’s most celebrated Indigenous artists and chefs, provided leading US editors and freelance travel writers with an exclusive introduction into Canada’s Indigenous tourism experiences. After a brief formal presentation, attendees enjoyed live drumming, dance and vocal performances by award-winning Indigenous artists. An intimate reception, providing the opportunity for guests to engage and connect with the attending artists, chefs and presenters, completed the evening.

“We thank Destination Canada for the opportunity to showcase a small example of the talent and transformational experiences we have across the country,” said Keith Henry, ITAC’s President and CEO. “We can all only benefit by continuing to profile the value Indigenous tourism brings to Canada as a top tourism destination.”

As recent research, conducted by Destination Canada in partnership with ITAC, reveals: one in three international visitors will seek out Canadian Indigenous tourism experiences. By hosting this memorable, culture-rich event at Travel Classics West 2019, ITAC and Destination Canada have helped to increase awareness and inspire new narratives about one of country’s fastest-growing tourism sectors.

Indigenous artists, chefs and businesses represented at Travel Classics West 2019 include:
• Alex Wells, a champion hoop dancer from the Lil’wat Nation, north of Whistler
• Dakhka Khwaan Dancers, a national award-winning Inland Tlingit dance group from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
• Silla & Rise, a vocal duo who blend Inuit throat-singing and futuristic dance beats
• Bill Helin, an artist, writer and storyteller, from the Tsimshian Nation
• Chef Murray McDonald, the executive chef of multi-award-winning “The Bear, The Fish, The Root, The Berry” at Spirit Ridge Resort in Osoyoos, BC
• Chef Tammy Maki, pastry chef at “The Bear, The Fish, The Root, The Berry” and member of White Bear First Nations in Saskatchewan
• Artist Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) of Squamish (Coast Salish) and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry

About the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is the lead organization tasked with growing 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 other groups and regions with similar mandates. By uniting the Indigenous tourism industry in Canada, ITAC works to enable collective support, product development, promotion and marketing of authentic Indigenous cultural tourism businesses in a respectful protocol. With Indigenous tourism outpacing Canadian tourism activity overall, and international demand for Indigenous experiences at an all-time high, ITAC recently updated its five-year plan. To view packages and experiences available visit IndigenousCanada.Travel. For more information on ITAC visit IndigenousTourism.ca

Media contacts:
Jenna Hickman, Beattie Tartan

Ryan Rogers, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

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