The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) proudly announces its participation in the newly formed Indigenous Tourism Collaborative of the Americas (ITCA). As a founding member, the ATTA will work alongside more than 100 Indigenous, government, industry, and academic organizations and leaders to support sustainable Indigenous tourism development across the American continents. The ITCA officially launched Monday with a virtual event and roundtable discussion on “Tourism Recovery and Indigenous Resilience in Uncertain Times.”
The global pandemic has disproportionately affected Indigenous communities and Indigenous tourism. Research also shows that Indigenous Tourism will take longer to rebuild. The virtual event roundtable discussion brought forward many of the unique and critical challenges Indigenous Tourism is facing right now, in the continual wake of the pandemic. The ATTA has committed to the ITCA by signing the partner pledge to help address some of the most pressing issues needed to assist Indigenous communities in building back stronger.
The inspiration for the Collaborative followed the success of the first-ever Indigenous Tourism Forum of the Americas held last year, in October 2020. The 2020 Indigenous Tourism Forum, hosted by the Organization of American States and the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies in partnership with the Office of Indian Economic Development at the United States Department of the Interior, brought together more than 250 Indigenous tourism organizations, travel companies, and representatives of governments, nonprofits, and academia. From that event, a network of Indigenous leaders and leading organizations, and public and private industry champions have joined forces to create a hemispheric Collaborative.
The ITCA will provide a platform for community leaders, policymakers, and business owners to share their experiences, learn from one another, take collective action, and better understand how to promote change through tourism without compromising cultural values. The collaborative network will set out to steer the growing traveler interest in authentic experiences that provide meaningful connections, particularly with people from other cultures. Indigenous tourism across the Americas offers communities an opportunity to generate income, alleviate poverty, increase access to healthcare and education, and conserve cultural and natural resources.
During the launch event Monday, Seleni Matus, Director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University, explained that the Collaborative has committed three focuses with two groups supporting each focus. One represents Indigenous communities and businesses, and the other includes representatives from the tourism industry in the private sector, government agencies, academia, and NGOs. The three focuses are Indigenous Tourism Recovery and Resilience, Building Indigenous Tourism Capacity, Sustainability and Technology, and Respect and Inclusion for Indigenous Tourism among government and industry planning and development.
Two leaders were announced for each strategic focus–the Indigenous Leader and the tourism industry representative called the Industry Champion. ATTA’s Community Lead for Latin America and the Caribbean, Sharon Conceiçao, was selected as the Industry Champion to build Indigenous Tourism capacity, sustainability, and technology. Through the Indigenous Tourism Collaborative of the Americas and our Indigenous Tourism initiative, the ATTA is committed to working on meaningful initiatives that will make a difference for Indigenous Tourism.