Tourism conference attracts big ideas to develop local indigenous businesses

Published on : Saturday, November 3, 2018

A conference creating partnerships and strategies to take the maximum benefit of the emerging Indigenous tourism industry was in Saskatoon this week.


Keith Henry, the CEO and President of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, explains aiming on Indigenous tourism within the wider tourism market is a smart effort, with one in three Canadian visitors interested to experience Indigenous cultures as part of their trip.


“International visitors are thirsting for transformative changes,” he said. “They want to learn, they want to be changed as people and we are seeing real high-spending visitors that isn’t looking for something super high end — they want to go on the land, understand the story … and they want to learn why Indigenous people have survived for thousands of years here.”


Indigenous tourism opportunities are growing fast all through Canada and Indigenous business owners around the province to take part in the seventh annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference.


The two-day conference, attracting Indigenous delegates from Canada and world over, targets to help Indigenous business people create strategies to endorse their businesses to visitors as well as connecting them with partners like Tourism Saskatoon and Tourism Saskatchewan.


Henry explains it’s all about endorsing tourism opportunities developed by Indigenous peoples, which includes taking part in cultural sharing opportunities like visiting a cultural centre or taking in an Indigenous festival. Though it comprises a lot more than the traditional idea of cultural sharing and can be as simple as eating at an Indigenous owned restaurant or shopping in an Indigenous owned store.

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