Aboriginal Tourism BC launches “Plus AboriginalBC” campaign
Vancouver, BC – A visit to British Columbia is not complete without at least one Aboriginal tourism experience is the message behind Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC)’s Plus AboriginalBC campaign.
Launched this fall, the goal of the program is to raise awareness of the growth in authentic Aboriginal tourism experiences across BC, which is a competitive advantage due to increased global demand for cultural tourism experiences.
“We are proud of the fact that BC’s Aboriginal tourism industry has some of the most diverse and best developed operators in the world, when it comes to indigenous cultural tourism,” says Keith Henry, CEO of AtBC. “The range of Aboriginal experiences available to visitors, which can last a week, a day or a few hours, is the best it has ever been, thanks to the passion and dedication of so many First Nations tourism operators and communities.”
According to research conducted by AtBC, trends in tourism indicate increasing demand for cultural tourism attractions. More and more visitors are looking for experiences that immerse them in a foreign culture and allow them to experiences customs and traditions first hand. This is backed up by the 2012 Larrakia declaration on the development of Indigenous Tourism which states: as the world becomes increasingly more homogenous, Indigenous cultures will become increasingly important for tourism to provide differentiation, authenticity and the enrichment of visitor experiences.
“Currently, Aboriginal tourism contributes over $40 million to our provincial economy and we are predicting that to rise to $68 million by 2017,” says Henry. “We will continue to support best practices and help market these experiences as an integral component to every visitor’s experience along the West Coast of Canada.”
Examples of the Plus Aboriginal experiences visitors can add on to their visit to the province include:
- Visit to Klahowya Village while walking or cycling around the Stanley Park walkway in Vancouver.
- Experiencing the annual Secwepmc Pow Wow, one of the largest celebrations of First Nations culture and heritage in Western Canada, while exploring Kamloops.
- Visit the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay while touring northern Vancouver Island.
- Wine tasting at Nk’Mip Cellars in the Okanagan, North America’s first Aboriginal owned and operated winery.
- Experience camping in a teepee along the Fraser River, at Tuckkwiowhum Village in Boston Bar.
- Take a break from skiing, mountain biking or golfing and visit the Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre in Whistler.
- Learn about Aboriginal art at the Bill Reid Gallery, in downtown Vancouver or Cheryl’s Trading Post in White Rock.
- View a spirit bear by visiting Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu.
- Go grizzly bear and whale watching with Aboriginal Journeys in Campbell River.
- Feast on aboriginal cuisine at Kekuli Café following a fun day on Okanagan Lake.
One of the many positive impacts of the growth in demand for Aboriginal tourism is the fact that First Nations traditions and customs are being revitalized for the benefit of communities across BC.
“We welcome the chance to share our own Aboriginal knowledge of this province through tourism” says Brenda Baptiste, Chair of AtBC. “We are proud to provide an authentic interpretation of our history, culture and landscapes through arts and culture, wildlife viewing and hospitality.”
Integrated marketing components of the Plus Aboriginal campaign include a consumer campaign, working with travel trade and media relations.