Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), (Vancouver, BC) – December 7, 2022 – The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has renewed a three-year contribution agreement with Parks Canada with the goal of enhancing and growing authentic Indigenous experiences in regions across the country. The contribution agreement continues to build on a Memorandum of Understanding signed with Parks Canada in 2016 and renewed in 2022.
The three-year agreement provides a framework for the growth of Indigenous tourism at Parks Canada administered places through the development, support, and marketing of authentic Indigenous tourism experiences created in collaboration between Parks Canada and Indigenous communities, businesses, and entrepreneurs. This agreement is part of a commitment to invest $500,000 over the next three years.
“The renewal of this partnership with Parks Canada enables important work to continue building a strong future for Indigenous tourism,” says Keith Henry, President & CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. “Moreover, ITAC’s role is to ensure that any agreement between the association and Parks Canada is rooted in reconciliation for Indigenous people and that Indigenous culture and identity is authentically represented in ongoing marketing efforts.”
While the renewed contribution agreement between the two organizations is over-arching, it strengthens the foundation for prioritizing and building on existing collaborations.
“As we move past the acute phase of the pandemic, Canada’s tourism sector is showing strong signs of growth. We are honoured to be a partner with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada to help advance Indigenous tourism and to share authentic Indigenous experiences with millions of visitors from across Canada and around the world,” said the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada. “As we look to revival and growth of the sector, we continue to provide targeted support to tourism businesses and partners – including Indigenous tourism operators – and work together with Parks Canada, so we can keep delivering unforgettable experiences. A fully recovered and robust Indigenous tourism sector is key to reconciliation, and to our government’s ongoing work in building an economy that works for everyone.”
As part of the renewed agreement, the two organizations will promote market-ready experiences through the creation of travel itineraries over the three-year period, which will then be jointly marketed by ITAC and Parks Canada. This will support authentic Indigenous experiences to grow and develop throughout Parks Canada administered locations across the country, including staff training opportunities for staff and Indigenous arts and crafts available at Parks Canada stores, its national historical sites, and more. ITAC and Parks Canada will mutually determine which experiences will be developed and featured in these itineraries.
The agreement is built in partnership with Parks Canada which has the knowledge to contribute to immersive, valuable, and authentic Indigenous tourism experiences for visitors. The definition for these authentic experiences is derived from ITAC’s national accreditation program, The Original Original, which serves as a thread of understanding throughout the agreement.
The ongoing growth of these experiences is very inspiring from many perspectives. For amazing tourism destinations, for the Indigenous communities, ITAC and Parks Canada work with and support Indigenous tourism across Canada as a whole.
For more information, visit www.IndigenousTourism.ca or www.parkscanada.ca.
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. Connect with ITAC on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
About Parks Canada
Collaborating with numerous Indigenous groups across Canada, Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples are partners in conserving natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these places. Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that recognizes and honours the historic and contemporary contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationships Indigenous peoples have with ancestral lands and waters. Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples work together to develop programs and activities at national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas with the goal of fostering a better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, cultures and traditions.