International Aboriginal Conference Concludes with Celebration of BC’s Aboriginal Tourism Leaders
2015-05-20 | Source: Aboriginal Tourism BC
(Coast Salish Territories, BC) –Two-days of intense discussions among 300 delegates and representatives from nine different countries during the 2014 International Aboriginal Tourism Conference (IATC) concluded with the Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC) industry awards, honouring outstanding tourism leaders from across the province. The World Indigenous Tourism Association (WINTA) also honoured AtBC with its inaugural award for leadership and commitment towards the key principles of the Larrakia Declaration, for the advancement of indigenous tourism.
With a theme focused on the importance of partnerships, IATC 2014 also allowed representatives from Destination BC, the Canadian Tourism Commission, the National Aboriginal Tourism Marketing Circle, Vancouver Coast & Mountains Tourism, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association, Tourism Vancouver Island, Northern BC Tourism, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Tourism Whistler, the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance, Capilano University, Tourisme Quebec and Aboriginal tourism businesses from across Canada to share best practices and knowledge with global Aboriginal tourism leaders.
“We learned about Europe’s efforts to re-wild its natural spaces from our Bulgarian delegate, the success of South Africa’s green chefs program, how Aboriginal tourism is growing in Western Australia and that initiatives are underway to build Australia’s tourism workforce,” say Keith Henry, CEO of Aboriginal Tourism BC and co-chair of IATC 2014. “We also used the conference as an opportunity to launch AtBC’s new full service travel agency, Aboriginal Travel Services. Finally, we celebrated the amazing work being done on the ground here in BC by Aboriginal tourism businesses who are truly global leaders.”
Recognized with an AtBC Industry Award were:
Outstanding Accommodations Award
Wya Point Resort
Set in the lush coastal rainforest of the west coast of Vancouver Island, a few kilometres outside Ucluelet and within minutes of world-famous Pacific Rim National Park, Wya Point Resort is an ideal retreat for couples and families offering luxurious Aboriginal-themed lodge accommodations, rustic eco yurts and a family-friendly campground.
Cultural Centres & Attractions Award
Laxgalts’ap (Greenville), BC
A breath taking longhouse-inspired museum with a stunning array of exquisitely carved masks, bentwood boxes, headdresses, soul catchers, the Nisga’a Museum showcases works of art acquired from the Nisga’a people, and returned to their place of origin in the Nass Valley after the Nisga’a Treaty.
Outdoor Adventures Award
West Vancouver, BC
Talaysay Tours explores the cultural wonders of the (SECHELT) Shíshálh First Nation territories with experienced guides on the First Nation Interpretive Paddle Tour and the Talking Trees experience. The experienced guides help visitors discover and experience traditional Salish ways of life on the Sunshine Coast and various Lower Mainland locations to hear traditional stories connected to local pictographs, native plants and wildlife by foot or by kayak.
Artist & Entertainer Award
Spirit Works Limited
North Vancouver, BC
As the president of Spirit Works Limited, Shain Jackson is also a lawyer who has represented the interests of Aboriginal communities and organizations throughout British Columbia in relation to a broad array of issues. After years devoted to the legal profession, Jackson has taken a break to follow his passion as an artist. Artistically, he works in Coast Salish design. As Jackson has continued to develop his own artwork to a higher level, he has had the privilege of collaborating with many amazing local artists. Inspired, Jackson has devoted much of his time to the protection of artists’ rights and has spearheaded the Authentic Indigenous Arts program with AtBC.
Industry Partner Award
New Relationship Trust
West Vancouver, BC
NRT invests in First Nations in BC by supporting them in five key capacity development areas: governance capacity, education, language & culture, youth & Elders, and economic development. As this year’s Industry Partner, NRT has
assisted AtBC by assisting businesses in becoming market ready, development of the authenticity handbook program and the travel trade’s Aboriginal expert program.
Food & Beverage Award
Spirit Bear Coffee Company
As well as supplying fairly-traded coffee, Spirit Bear Coffee Company is committed to supporting indigenous communities. It sponsors the Kitasoo First Nations Spirit Bear Conservation Foundation and has also has been an
outstanding sponsor of many AtBC’s events, and partner at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park.
Gift Shop & Gallery Award
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Gift Shop
The Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Gift Shop has been an outstanding ambassador for artists and crafts people by recognizing, promoting and selling authentic work from Indigenous artists. As a founding partner of the sellers program, this year’s award winner is being recognized as the first fully tagged Authentic Indigneous gift shop.
National Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Award
Haida House Tllal
Haida Gwaii, BC
Haida House won the first award by the Aboriginal Tourism Marketing Circle for the commitment and development of innovative, authentic aboriginal tourism experiences.
“We were proud to welcome so many tourism innovators to the shared territory of the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations and honoured to pass the torch of this invaluable conference to our friends in Quebec,” says Chief Ian Campbell, Squamish First Nations. “Three years ago, AtBC started this gathering of Aboriginal tourism, first regionally, then nationally and now internationally. The ability to share knowledge with such global leaders in indigenous tourism is and will continue to be a profound experience for all of us."
IATC 2015 will be held in Quebec City at the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, andhosted by Quebec Aboriginal Tourism, March 24 – 25, 2015. More information may be found at www.tourismeautochtone.com.
The Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC) is a non-profit, membership-based organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Aboriginal tourism industry. Through training, information resources, networking opportunities and co-operative marketing programs, AtBC is a one-stop resource for Aboriginal entrepreneurs and communities in British Columbia who are operating or looking to start a tourism business. AtBC works closely with tourism, business, education and government organizations to help B.C.’s Aboriginal tourism businesses offer quality experiences and actively promotes these experiences to visitors and local residents. www.AboriginalBC.com