Published on : Friday, November 2, 2018
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) along with its partners Indigenous Tourism of British Columbia (ITBC), Tourism Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Shackan Indian Band, Lower Nicola Indian Band, were selected as the successful bidder to host the 8th Annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) in Kelowna, British Columbia in 2019.
Each year, IITC brings together delegates from the Canadian tourism industry, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities, as well as representatives from global Indigenous tourism organisations to discuss Indigenous tourism topics, barriers, opportunities and trends across Canada and the world.
During the culmination of a successful 7th IITC in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan this week, the announcement of next year’s host destination in the Thompson Okanagan was celebrated yesterday by over 600 delegates.
Keith Henry, CEO & President of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) says that TOTA and ITBC have been pioneers in establishing and growing a thriving Indigenous tourism industry in Canada and he is very pleased to see the exceptional collaboration with regional Indigenous communities to ensure IITC is a success next year. Year over year, there have been a growth here and this conference and anticipated that IITC 2019 will sell out quickly.
During this week’s conference, ITAC announced the demand for Indigenous tourism experiences was at an all-time high, and that ITAC was already exceeding all economic forecast goals originally laid out for 2021. ITAC’s new targets for 2024 will see total indigenous tourism revenues contributing $2.2 billion to the annual Canadian GDP, 49,383 total jobs in indigenous tourism, and 200 export-ready indigenous tourism experiences across Canada.