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By: ATTA Member Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group
In April, the town of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada, played host to the inaugural International Aboriginal Tourism Conference. The two-day conference with 300 delegates and representatives from nine different countries concluded with the Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC) industry awards, honoring outstanding tourism leaders from across the province. The Adventure Travel Trade Association was represented at the event by AdventureEDU Facilitator Dan Moore of Pandion Consulting, who co-hosted an AdventureConnect on the opening night with Tartan Group’s Deirdre Campbell.
During the conference, Moore reinforced ATTA’s commitment to the growing global indigenous tourism movement. “The importance of respecting and celebrating indigenous culture while enjoying authentic travel experiences around the world is a vital discussion,” said Moore. “I was proud to represent the ATTA and also proud to know the adventure tourism industry shares similar values and goals as indigenous tourism thought leaders from around the world.”
Keith Henry, AtBC’s CEO, co-chaired the conference with Chief Ian Campbell. “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 about initiatives underway to build Australia’s tourism workforce,” said Henry. “Finally, we celebrated the amazing work being done on the ground here in BC by Aboriginal tourism businesses who are truly global leaders.”
The conference was also an opportunity to launch AtBC’s new full service travel agency, Aboriginal Travel Services, which will reinvest all of its profits back into aboriginal communities and tourism.
The World Indigenous Tourism Association (WINTA) honoured AtBC with its inaugural award for leadership and commitment towards the key principles of the Larrakia Declaration, for the advancement of indigenous tourism. ATTA and WINTA members Ben Sherman and Judy Karwacki were on hand to help make this special presentation.
Next year’s International Aboriginal Tourism Conference will be held March 24 – 25, 2015, in Quebec City, with early bird registration available now: http://www.quebecaboriginal.com/iatc-cita2015